HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
On the hottest May 12th in Ottawa in more than 100 years, high school runners and jumpers followed suit with torrid performances at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility.
As the temperature hit 30.5°C, five student/athletes experienced that record-breaking feeling in four events during the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association East Conference track and field championships.
Timeo Atonfo of Gisèle-Lalonde showed no fear of the heat, setting a pair of records in the boys’ novice class. Competing in the same age division, Ashbury sprinter Preston Schwarz set one record, attempted to eclipse another and came short on a third attempt.
In the opening event of the day-long championships, the top three runners bettered the girls’ open 2,000-metre steeplechase record by varying time margins.
The top-eight athletes in each event at the East and West Conference finals advanced to next week’s NCSSAA track and field championships, which also is the qualifier for the East Regional meet at the end of the month at the Terry Fox centre.
Atonfo was a triple boys’ novice champion with a pair of unprecedented efforts. He won the 300-metre hurdles in 43.69 seconds to surpass the four-year record of 44.17 set by Keito Newman of Glebe.
His other record-breaking result was in the long jump, when he sailed 5.97 metres for the win. The former record was set by Sylvain Mbuyamba of Lester B. Pearson at 5.92 metres in 2010. Atonfo warmed up for his record runs by winning the 100-metre hurdles at 15.61.
Schwarz powered his way to victory in the boys’ novice 100 metres in a record sprint of 11.57. He pared one-one hundredth of a second off the former standard held by Ben Robinson of Immaculata in 2016.
After winning the high jump at 1.70 metres, Schwarz raised the bar to 1.83 metres, which was one centimetre above the record set by Jaime Corinaldi of Hillcrest in 1999. But the talented Ottawa-Nepean Canadians baseball player missed all three attempts at that height.
Schwarz finished his day with a third win, capturing the 200 metres in 23.57. Curtis Fraser of Gloucester retained his 24-year-old record for another year at 23.30.
Elizabeth Vroom led the charge as three girls broke the open 2,000-metre steeplechase record of 8:10.8, which belonged to Amelia Wojtyk of Lisgar since 2019.
Vroom won the race in 7:22.12 and was followed by Gillian Porter of Franco-Cité in 7:38.01, and third-place finisher Meredith Walker of Immaculata in 8:09.29.
Later in the day, Vroom won the 1,500 metres in 4:53.72, and placed third in the 3,000 metres in 11:05.58.
The championships’ other three triple champions came from the girls’ side of the results sheet.
Ashbury sprinter Lecia Patrick was first in the novice 100 and 200 metres in 13.38 and 28.15 respectively as well as the long jump in 5.16 metres, which was one centimetre shy of the record established by Keira Christie-Galloway of St. Matthew in 2014.
Middle-distance runner Lauren Alexander of Glebe posted the fastest times in the junior 800 metres (2:23.66) and the 1,500 metres (4:50.18). She also won the 300-metre hurdles in 50.15.
In the senior class, St. Francis Xavier’s Allison Dewar topped the charts in the 200 metres (27.70), the 400-metre hurdles (1:10.00) and the triple jump (10.46 metres).
The double champions’ list is completed by:
· Daniel Cova, Louis-Riel, boys’ novice, 1,500 metres (4:22.54), 3,000 metres (10:15.71).
· Dustin Coldrey, Colonel By, boys’ junior, shot put (12.20 metres), javelin (29.69 metres), and second in discus (29.76 metres).
· Sebastien Lacasse, Colonel By, boys’ senior, open 2,000-metre steeplechase (6:35.30), 3,000 metres (9:54.26).
· Andile Mabaleka, Ashbury, boys’ senior, 110-metre hurdles (15.05), 400-metre hurdles (1:05.65).
· Oliver Waddington, Glebe, boys’ senior, 1,500 metres (4:27.72), 800 metres (2:09.57).
· Sabina Koziakova, Ashbury, girls’ novice, 80-metre hurdles (14.17), 300-metre hurdles (54.25).
· Kate Johnston-Zemak, Ashbury, girls’ novice, 1,500 metres (5:20.24), 3,000 metres (11:57.07).
· Megan Zucker, Ashbury, girls’ novice, shot put (9.12 metres), discus (18.47 metres).
· Danica Mulvihill, Louis-Riel, girls’ junior, 80-metre hurdles (13.59), 100 metres (13.40).
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 48 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com and on Twitter @martincleary.
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