After a three-year hiatus from Special Olympics, Brent Kampert's comeback in the sport he loves -- running -- was "like lightning."
Kampert, 28, of Crystal Lake will be competing in the Special Olympics 2014 USA Games, June 14-21 in New Jersey.
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He earned a place in the national competition by setting a record at the Special Olympics 2013 Illinois Summer Games, running 100 meters in 11 seconds -- a personal best.
"I've enjoyed running a lot," he said.
The 2005 Crystal Lake Central High School graduate has been involved in a number of Special Olympics sports for 16 years, including basketball and softball. In 2001, Kampert was named the Junior Male Athlete of the Year by the Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association.
He became a track and field athlete in 2000 and "was the fastest runner in 2002 and 2003," he said.
Kampert was co-captain of the high school track and field team in 2005. He took breaks from competitive running -- between 2006 and 2008 and again between 2010 and 2012 -- but never stopped training.
"I like to keep consistent at the running," he said.
When he returned to compete in the 2013 Illinois Summer Games, he was faster than ever, said his mother, Jan Kampert.
"He practices about every other day. When he is not at the gym working out with his weights, he is outside running and he times himself," she said. "I'm very proud of him. He is very focused. He is also a true athlete ... a gentleman."
Kampert is all about sportsmanship and supports his fellow athletes, she said.
"It's like one big family there," she said. "Everybody's friends and always encouraging each other."
Kampert said he feels good about representing Illinois at the USA Games and has a lot of support from friends and family.
"I've not been to a national (competition) for Special Olympics," he said. "It feels great to represent my family, friends, and everyone we know at the USA Games."