NEW RICHMOND -- Eighth grader Drew Brinkman is waiting to see if he’ll get a chance to break the school records he worked the entire track offseason to achieve.
That work carried Brinkman to some lofty heights, including finishing as a medalist in the AAU Junior Olympics. Brinkman took third place in the 800 meters at the AAU Junior Olympics national indoor championships in March at Eastern Michigan University and he took fourth place in the 1,500 meters.
At the end of his seventh grade track season at New Richmond Middle School, Brinkman looked at the board showing the school’s track records and saw that several of the records were within his reach. He decided to join the I.C.A.A. Breeze AAU team in St. Paul. He was able to run in six meets with the Breeze last summer. His success qualified him for the Junior Olympics national meet in North Carolina in three events. He placed 33rd among 98 runners in the 14-year-old division in the 800 in a time of 2 hours, 13 minutes and 9 seconds. He placed 36th among the 82 runners in the 1,500 meters.
Brinkman continued to compete with the Breeze during the winter indoor season. He continued to see his success grow. In December, he set a Minnesota state record for 14-year-olds with a time of 2:14.9 in the 800. He has broken that record several times since then.
He qualified for the indoor national meet in Michigan. The top three runners finished in a pack, with Brinkman a half-stride behind the other two runners. Brinkman’s third place time was 2:10.1. He finished fourth in the 1,500 in 4:39.
Drew’s father, Grant, said his son continues to work out every day during the coronavirus pandemic They get weekly instructions from the Breeze coach to continue his plan. The plan includes running, lifting, speed training and running hills. Drew is 6 feet tall as an eighth grader and he has set goals for his high school career.
“His goal is to be under two minutes (in the 800) as a freshman. He wants to go to state all four years,” Grant said.
Drew also plays basketball and runs cross-country.