This summer has been anything but a vacation for Marcus Chambers. The recently graduated Foss athlete – fresh off wins in the 200- and 400-meter dashes at the 3A state meet last spring – has taken his talents to the national level in recent months. He capped it off by taking part in the United States’ gold medal 4X400-meter relay at the Pan Am Junior Championships on Aug. 23-25 in Medellin, Colombia.
“It was something to always remember,” said Chambers, who will compete for the University of Oregon this year. “That’s what I wanted, to race against the best.”
Chambers, who was one of just 41 male athletes from the United States in the competition, began by taking fourth place in the 400-meter dash, finishing in 46.75 seconds.
“The outcome wasn’t what I wanted,” Chambers said. “Overall, I’m still blessed to be able to run in the finals and say I’m one of the best in the country. I can’t complain.”
He responded in a big way on Aug. 25, teaming with Juan Paul Green of Illinois, Lamar Bruton of Delaware and Alexis Robinson of California to win the 4X400 in three minutes and 6.57 seconds – less than 0.4 seconds ahead of Brazil.
“Since I didn’t race the way I wanted to run in the (400-meter dash), I wanted to get the gold in the (4X400),” said Chambers, who unofficially ran the opening leg of the relay in 45.8 seconds. “I wanted to get us off to a big lead.”
Earlier this summer, Chambers won the 400-meter dash at the U.S. Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships on June 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa to punch his ticket to Colombia. He had then taken second in the 200 and sixth in the 400 at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics on July 22-28 at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, N.C.
Not only were the Pan Am Junior Championships his first trip outside the United States, Chambers was joined by his coach at the Seatown Express Track Club, former NFL player Eric Metcalf, who served as the jumps coach for the United States.
So for Chambers, who will move down to Eugene in mid-September to start his college career, what’s next?
“I’m taking some time off,” he said quickly. “I’m just going to be hanging out, eat a lot, have some fun. Chill. I’ve been training all summer. It’s one of my times to relax.”