Wooddell returns to national event

PARKERSBURG – Sprinter Logan Wooddell, who will be a sophomore this year at Parkersburg High School, is making the most of his summer vacation.

After helping the Big Reds of head coach Rod O’Donnell capture the Class AAA state track championship this spring by placing in both the 100 (fifth) and 200 (sixth) and running a leg on the winning 4 by 200 and 4 by 400 relay squads, the speedster has continued to shine on the track.

For the second straight year, Wooddell has qualified for the USATF National Junior Olympics, which will be held next week in Houston, Texas.

“On Wednesday I’ll do the 200 and Thursday I’ll do the 100 meter,” said Wooddell, who is competing in the 15-16 age group. “Last year I was in the 13-14 (age division) and I was older than the kids and this year I’m younger.”

At last year’s event in Greensboro, N.C., Wooddell didn’t perform quite as well as he had hoped. He took 28th in the 100, but said he had a bad start. In the 200, he actually had the 20th fastest time, but placed 25th overall and only the top 24 advanced to the semifinals. During his 200 effort last summer, Wooddell was in an eight person heat. He said only the top two from each heat advanced and some heats only had four participants.

“I think it’s wonderful,” coach O’Donnell said of what Wooddell has accomplished. “It’s a key to his future career to get this experience competing on that level. It’s very important. We’re very limited here in West Virginia and the initiative has to come from him. He’s going to be a great sprinter.

“It’s extremely important for him to see the world out there, which is eye opening when you do it. He inspires me to know that he loves it enough to go out and work on his own without a coach and he wants to do it.”

Of course, Wooddell fully admits having coach O’Donnell has been a blessing for him.

This summer the Big Red said he’s used a track program coach gave him with different options on it for what he could do on a day by day basis.

Wooddell is set to fly out Tuesday for Texas and just plans to relax in his hotel room once he gets there.

“I always want to win,” added Wooddell, who also qualified in the 200 for the AAU Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa, but he’s opted not to go. “I hate losing like last year. I went there and I had a PR (personal record) in the 200 and I was proud about that.

“But, I didn’t make the finals and it sticks with you and you remember it when you are training. This year, even being younger, I still want to make the finals. Then when I’m older next year I plan on winning it.”

Although the competition will be fierce in both the 100 and 200 to say the least, Wooddell is hoping to reach the semifinals and then go from there.

“If you make the top 24 you go to the semifinals and then they take the top two in each heat and the next four fastest times and then the top eight is the final,” he said. “If you make the finals you get on the podium and that’s a pretty big deal.”

Wooddell noted Wednesday was his actual last day of hard practice in preparation for Houston and now “it doesn’t really matter what I do. I just can’t eat really bad and gain weight.”

A soccer player last year as a freshman, Wooddell said he plans to just concentrate on track for his remaining three years at PHS with the hope of one day securing a college scholarship.

“All I do is focus on track,” he added. “I want to get a full ride scholarship somewhere so I can get a good education and a good job. That’s the plan.”