Pines track star qualifies for National Jr. Olympic ChampionshipsSubmitted: 07/22/2013
Story By Joe Dufek

EAGLE RIVER - The Winter Olympics in Russia are in February. But this weekend, some of the best high school athletes in the country will be competing. One of them is from the Northwoods.

Northland Pines junior Ryan Ozelie qualified in the 400 meters in the National
Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships.

The meet is in Greensboro North Carolina.

He'll begin competing on Friday.

Ryan qualified by finishing 5th at South Dakota earlier this month.

However, all is not well with the family. Last weekend, they had a funeral for Ryan's grandfather.

Ryan will be thinking about him when he runs.

Ryan says, "It's been hard, but it also motivates me. To think he would be proud. I learned a lot by competing in the Junior Olympics. To see how I match up against the best from the state and surrounding states."

"Strong willed, it's just the way Ryan is," Ryan's father Robert explains. "He's done it all himself. I just think it's awesome he's gone this far."

Ryan's track coaches suggested trying the Junior Olympics after the high school season was done. Ryan liked the idea of continuing his track and field year and representing Northland Pines as well as Eagle River.

As you can imagine, the cost of traveling can get expensive. The family hopes they can get some sponsorships to help cut the cost. Any additional money would go toward the Northland Pines track and field team. Anyone interested in helping as a sponsor can call Ryan's mother Gina at (715) 892-2683.

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