Track team impresses at OFSAA Eastern Regionals
Submitted by Karen Gervais
This competition includes athletes of COSSA (top six finisher), EOSSA (top five) and National Capital (top five) regions. There are five regions across Ontario that compete at the OFSAA championships from June 6 to 8 in Guelph.
Molly Devolin faced the nerves of running in the first heat of the first event of the Eastern Regionals meet held at the Bruce Faulds Track in Belleville, the midget girls’ 200 metre. Despite a lengthy wait standing by her block for the meet to get underway, Devolin kept her cool and ran a new personal best in this event, finishing 14th overall in a time of 29.01 seconds.
Britney Bain set a new personal best of 9.66 metres in the junior girls triple jump, finishing 11th overall. Teammate Mikayla O’Neill finished 14th.
Shawn Walker qualified in several events, ran a strong 200 metre race to finish 12th overall. He was also 12th in the senior boys’ 400 metres. Walker would go on to run the starting legs of the senior boys’ 4x100 metre and 4x400 metre relays later in the day.
In junior boys discus, Desi Davies had a big throw of 42.13 metres, adding nearly six metres to his previous best thrown at COSSA. This throw landed Davies in fifth place, one place shy of qualifying for OFSAA. Despite this, Davies was thrilled with his performance by ending the season on a high note.
Rebecca Archibald, jumping as a first-year senior (a category that gets much tougher as it includes athletes that are in Grade 11 and 12, including students that have returned for a fifth year of high school) also had a great day and jumped a new personal best of 4.72 metres –bettering her previous mark by 22cm. This leap earned Archibald a tie for sixth place, but dropped into seventh as a tie is broken by the next best jump.
Nigel Smith competed in senior boys long jump. He achieved a new personal best of 5.56 metres to finish 14th overall.
Another first-year senior, Emma Casey also finished in a tough ninth position. Despite a new personal best throw of 29.36 metres, it was not enough to launch her into top eight in a field of talented senior girls competitors.
Camden Marra also jumped a new personal best in junior boys triple jump. His jump of 11.64 metres bettered his previous record of 11.29 at COSSA last week. Marra finished ninth overall, one spot shy of top eight, which would have earned him a ribbon and another three attempts. Camden has shown outstanding commitment this year as a first-year track and field athlete, demonstrated by attending the most practices of anyone on the team. His growth as an athlete reflects his devotion to training and bettering his athletic performance.
Connor Spence ran a new personal best of 17.12 seconds in the senior boys’ 110 metre hurdles to finish 11th overall. Connor has been running this event for three years and is graduating this year.
Alex Little’s gutsy 800 metre run of 2:05.77 bettered his time by nearly eight seconds from last week. Alex was running in the slow heat and had to use his personal drive to push himself to new limits. Alex won his heat to finish seventh overall. His run set a new school record in the junior boys category, bettering Shawn Walker’s record of 2:09.12 set in 2017.
Isaac Little finished 13th in the senior boys’ 3000 metre, seconds short of his personal best in this event after running a very fast 2000 metre steeplechase that morning, bettering his own school record in this event setting a new mark of 6:40.76, running almost six seconds faster than his time at COSSA last week. Little has dropped 21 seconds off his best time in this event since last year.
Midget boy distance runner Nick Phippen looks to follow in Little’s footsteps. Phippen ran a new personal best in this gruelling race taking 20 seconds off his previous best to finish in 10:27.38. Phippen has also been one of the most committed athletes on the team and his coachability and training initiative have been significant factors in the continued improvement of his performance.
Codie Wilkinson competed as a first-year senior boy in the highly competitive boys’ 100 metre.
Corin Gervais has a great start in the midget boys’ 300 metre hurdles and despite running into one of the hurdles, managed to match his time at the Kawartha championship.
In relay action, the junior boys’ 4 x 100 metre team of Alex Little, Ryerson Chamney, Brendan Coumbs and Desi Davies ran a solid, clean race matching their COSSA time. Despite efforts to polish hand-offs and shuffle running order, the team finished 14th overall.
The junior girls’ team of Britney Bain, Kristina Barry, Mikayla O’Neill and Molly Devolin ran a determined race and posted a new best time for this team finishing 11th overall.
The senior boys’ relay team fumbled the baton at the last exchange, failing to finish the race – one of many disqualifications during the relays as teams pulled out all the stops in their attempt at earning an OFSAA spot.
The final race of the day held much drama. After a last minute switch of third runner with senior Coleman Heaven taking over Michael Stephen’s spot, the team ran a thrilling race to finish the day. Shawn Walker ran a very fast lead leg to rocket the team into first place, handing off the baton to Isaac Little, who ran through injury and the fatigue of two long distance races earlier in the day to cling to the team’s first place spot. Little carried the baton to Heaven who maintained the team’s position, running a strong 400 leg before passing off to Alex Little, who had set a new HHSS record in the junior boys’ 800m earlier in the day. Little ran a very quick and courageous anchor leg, but was unable to fend off Carleton Place’s runner at the line, landing the boys second in their heat and seventh overall by six-tenths of a second.
Overall, the team represented the school with pride, integrity and determination. Coaches Karen Gervais, Ginny Marsden, Al Hough, Tim Davies and Russ Duhaime could not be more thrilled with their results. They are extremely proud of this group of young athletes and look forward to coaching many of them next year.
Coach Hough hopes to continue to build enthusiasm and skill in this sport through offering a summer track program for any interested athletes age 10 through 18. Please contact Cough Hough at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.