Fedeski looks beyond OFSAA for hockey dreams in Toronto 0
Red Hawks junior discus thrower Julia Fedeski showed her strength and technical abilities, earning a ninth place at the all-provincial track and field meet earlier this month. This was her first and, possibly her last, trip to the finals. Fedeski has accepted enrollment to a private girls school and will be able to be closer to her AA Toronto Midget Aeros hockey team. DARREN LUM/HALIBURTON ECHO/QMI AGENCY
It was an unusual year for the Red Hawks.
Unlike previous years when the Highlands have had several representatives at the all-provincials track and field finals, the Red Hawks had just the one competitor.
Julia Fedeski flew the red and white colours proudly at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) finals in Brockville earlier this month.
Junior discus thrower Fedeski, who is also strong hockey player, made the most of her opportunity, even if she fell short of her personal goal of breaking the 30-metre mark.
Fedeski threw a personal best of 28.37 metres for a ninth place finish in a field of 24 at OFSAA.
It was a season-long goal to make OFSAA after missing the cut for it last year, ending her run at East Regionals. This year with greater focus and effort in practice, she improved with each level of competition: Kawartha, COSSA and East Regionals.
"I always throw better under pressure," she said.
Fedeski still feels disappointed she couldn't break the top eight, as she was short just eight centimetres. However her self-confidence was emboldened by her performance.
"It tells me that if I really want to do something I can pursue it [and do it]," she said.
It's a marked improvement for the Grade 10 student, who doesn't expect to continue in discus, as she has chosen to pursue her passion for hockey in Toronto.
This coming season she will join the Toronto Midget Aeros women's hockey team (AA aged Grade 10 to 12) and will attend and board at Bishop Strachan, a girls' private high school in Toronto, mere minutes from her practice arena.
This will benefit her dreams to play hockey for an American university in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), but will also enable her to focus more time on studies than in transit to an from practice and games.
The team belongs to the Toronto Aeros Girls' Hockey Association and is a respected women's hockey program in Canada.
Aeros alumni include Team Canada members Gillian Apps, Courtney Birchard, Hayley Irwin and Hockey Hall of Famer Angela James.
Coach Bruce Griffith said the junior had a strong start, throwing her personal best on the first throw of three at OFSAA.
"Most of the big guns faulted on their first throw [due to nerves] so we were encouraged that she had two more throws with such a great start. We were hoping she would make the top eight and get three more attempts but the other girls started to throw very well and she just narrowly missed out on eighth place," he said in an email. "Both her dad and I were hoping she would throw 29 metres after doing so well on her first throw but to finish in the top 10 in the province is a real achievement and we are proud of Julia."
A player with the Whitby Wolves last year, and the Barrie Sharks for five years before, Fedeski has her sights set on an NCAA hockey team in the States.
Her absence leaves Red Hawks coaches (hockey, field hockey and track) to adjust, but they wish her well in her hockey pursuits. "We will miss her,but I think it's a great opportunity for her and will help
further her hockey career," said Griffith.
Fedeski's looking forward to the opportunities her new school will provide her such as greater academic challenges and a variety of athletics to play. For the first time she can try out for a swim team or a lacrosse team.
The tall blond is saddened to leave the school, her coaches, her friends and most importantly her family. She plans to return several times every month.
"It'll be hard," she said, adding the longer holidays will enable her to return for long stretches.
Everything came to light for her at last week's athletic banquet, particularly seeing her hockey coach Vince Duchene, who returned for the ceremony. There's no doubt the Haliburton girl will miss home while in Toronto.
"I love it here. I've grown up here. I've never moved. I was born and raised here. It will definitely be a change next year," she said.