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Daniel Turner, the Juneau 10-year-old who earned a trip to compete in the Hershey's Track and Field Youth Program North American Final Meet in Pennsylvania earlier this month, made the most of his sweet journey.
Daniel met Olympic decathlon gold medalist Rafer Johnson, got stuck at the top of a roller coaster, enjoyed the sights in a town built on chocolate and, of course, ran in the age 9-10 boys 50-meter race.
He finished in seventh place with a time of 8.5402 seconds at the Aug. 10 meet in Hershey, Pa., which was the 25th anniversary of the event. The winning time of 7.4585 seconds was posted by a Texas participant.
Daniel qualified for the all-expenses-paid trip with his time in the 50-meter dash at the local Hershey's qualifying meet in May.
While in Hershey, Daniel and the other participants visited the Hersheypark amusement park. Daniel and other roller-coaster riders had a thrill - or scare, depending on your perspective - when mechanical problems left them stuck out on the track.
The riders had to get out of their cars - "We were at the top," Daniel said - and walk back down to the exit.
On the way home, Daniel met Johnson, who won as a decathlete won an Olympic gold medal in 1960 and an Olympic silver medal in 1956. Johnson autographed one of the five shirts that Daniel collected in trades with other meet participants. He collected shirts from states including Rhode Island, Maryland and Oregon.
Among other Alaskans competing, Kodiak's Brandon Miller was the top finisher, placing fifth in the age 13-14 boys softball throw. Maggie Embick of Valdez finished eighth in the age 11-12 girls long jump; Jamie Auldridge of Nikiski finished eighth in the age 11-12 girls 100-meter dash; and Sadie Arneson of Nikiski finished eighth in the age 9-10 girls 200-meter dash.