The track and field season isn't over yet for Aiken native Kyle Kaufelds, but he's already earned some notable accolades.
Kaufelds, 14, won first place in the Javelin throw in the Junior High School division at the New Balance National Championship.
The meet, held on the campus of North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, N.C., featured some of the nation's best runners, jumpers, throwers, walkers and relay crews.
"I feel like I gained a lot more self-confidence," Kaufelds said. "I did well, but I really enjoyed the experience of just being there."
Kaufelds started with the javelin about four years ago. He previously ran the 800 and 1,500 meters with the Palmetto Track and Field Club, but at one practice some of his teammates encouraged him to throw. They brought over a few javelins for him to try throwing. Javelin throwing was new to Kaufelds, and so he tried it.
He later got determined and worked at it. Then he did well at it.
"The most challenging thing is having a consistent approach, working on some of the techniques, the proper strengthening and being able to really work through everything and be consistent," Kaufelds said.
This weekend, Kaufelds will participate in the USATF state meet at Winthrop University, where he will try to qualify for the regional meet. The top five participants at the regional meet will go on to the national meet in Sacramento.
"I feel pretty accomplished with what I've done so far," Kaufelds said. "I still have a little ways to go before the Junior Olympic nationals USATF, so I'm still working up to that."