By Martin Cleary
Elizabeth Vroom certainly knows how to kick off a high school track and field championship with a big bang.
For the third week in a row, the Sir Wilfrid Laurier senior student-athlete was at her record-smashing best in the opening event Friday at the East Regional high school track and field championships.
Vroom placed first in the open girls’ 2,000-metre steeplechase by more than eight seconds and broke the meet record by almost the same time difference on the second and final day of the meet.
The top four athletes in each event at the regionals will advance to the June 2-4 OFSAA provincial high school championships at York University in Toronto.
Vroom ran her fastest time of the year, when she ended the challenging hurdles and distance race in the rain in seven minutes, 4.20 seconds. Her performance eclipsed the meet record set by Molly Strain at 7:12.00 in 2019.
“That was a really great race,” signalled Vroom, who outpaced Ottawa Lions Track-and-Field Club training partner Louise Stonham of Arnprior to the finish line by just over eight seconds.
“I wasn’t feeling as good as last week, but I got a better time, so that’s good,” Vroom added.
Stonham later edged Vroom by .38 seconds in a time of 10:24.78 to earn the bronze medal in the girls’ senior 3,000 metres, which was won by Earl of March’s Amelia Van Brabant in 9:50.66.
This is only the second year the girls’ steeplechase has been run over 2,000 metres, but it brings it in line with the distance of the boys’ race. In previous years, the girls’ steeplechase covered 1,500 metres.
At last week’s National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association championships, Vroom was in record form as well, breaking the meet record by more than 20 seconds with a run of 7:13.57.
Vroom set her first steeplechase record of the outdoor season at the NCSSAA East Conference meet, when she won in 7:22.12 to shave 48 seconds off the former mark.
The past Ottawa South United and current Ottawa TFC soccer player will now get to make her OFSAA debut in the new sport she’d like to pursue while studying engineering at Queen’s University next fall.
“I’m really excited,” Vroom underlined. “Making it there was the big objective, so I’m not really sure (what to shoot for next) – just get some good times at OFSAA, and I’m hoping to maybe medal in the steeplechase.”
Wind negates novice long jumper’s record leap
Timeo Atonfo of Gisèle-Lalonde appeared to join Vroom in the meet record-breakers club with his first two jumps in the boys’ novice long jump. But strong winds at his back blew apart that magical moment.
Atonfo sailed 6.24 metres on his first attempt, but the wind of 4.5 metres per second surpassed the allowable 2.0. On his second jump, he flew farther, going 6.27 metres, but the wind was an illegal 2.3 metres per second. Scott Peel will retain his eight-year-old East Regional record of 6.19 metres for another year.
In the end, Atonfo won the competition with a wind-aided jump of 6.27 metres, which was one of his three first-place finishes at regionals. He also won the 100-metre hurdles in 15.28 seconds. On Thursday, he was first in the 300-metre hurdles in 44.03.
“For the long jump, I’m pretty sure I’m just jumping because I’m fast and I can jump high,” Atonfo said in an interview, “so with some work on technique, I’m pretty sure I can jump farther than I did.”
Ashbury’s Preston Schwarz also earned his third regionals’ victory, when he won the boys’ novice 100 metres in 11.49 seconds, which threatened to break Dorbor Kollie’s meet record of 11.25. Close rival Will Batley of West Carleton was second in 11.52.
A hockey goalie with the West Carleton team, Batley is in his first season of track and field and his early success prompted him to join the Ottawa Lions two weeks ago.
“It’s pretty fun (going head-to-head with Schwarz). We’re always really close,” Batley said, after the 100-metre final. “That race, I had no clue who won, though usually I can tell if it’s me or him.”
The pair have traded victories in their races this season, often posting near-identical times. Batley has enjoyed getting to chat with Schwarz and congratulating each other after their battles – a nice contrast to the relationship he has with opponents when he’s between the pipes on the ice.
“I usually have a guy in front of me, screening me,” Batley quipped.
National capital will have piles of representatives at OFSAA
NCSSAA runners swept all four regional qualifying spots for OFSAA in the boys’ novice and girls’ senior 400 metres. Louis-Riel’s Ibrahim Domiati won the boys’ race in 53.56 seconds and was followed by teammate Zachary Jeggo in 54.06, Immaculata’s Daniel Mikwete in 54.89, and Ashbury’s Chase Gillespie in 56.24.
Sacred Heart’s Emily Brennan led the local girls’ sweep in 1:00.59, ahead of John McCrae’s Cora McQuinn in 1:01.01, West Carleton’s Grace Munro in 1:01.49 and St. Mother Teresa’s Charlotte Murchison in 1:01.54.
Sacred Heart’s Kaiya Woodcock was the standout in the girls’ novice division, winning the 100 metres in 12.81, which was less than four-tenths of a second off the meet record, and the long jump at 5.09 metres.
Luca Nicoletti of Paul-Desmarais captured his third individual regional title, when he won the boys’ senior 110-metre hurdles in 14.48 and ended his meet helping his team to second place in the boys’ open 4×400-metre relay. Ribensly Boisette, who also was on that relay team, was runner-up in the boys’ senior 100 metres in 11.43.
Immaculata’s Connor Fraser placed first in the boys’ senior discus at 46.05 metres and was third in shot put at 13.49 metres.
Audrey Goddard of Merivale was a triple podium performer as she won the girls’ senior 100-metre hurdles in 14.79, helped the 4×100-metre relay team to victory and was second in the high jump at 1.55 metres.
William Sanders of St. Mother Teresa was a boys’ junior double champion in the 400 metres in 52.46 and the 800 metres in 2:04.09.
Justin Rowe of St. Mother Teresa and 15th-ranked Jambo Finlaystone of Gloucester were part of the three-way tie for first place in the boys’ junior high jump at 1.70 metres.
Here are the NCSSAA athletes who qualified Friday for next week’s OFSAA championships:
Zachary Sikka, St. Paul, third, 6:32.59
Paul-Desmarais, second, 3:36.07
Elizabeth Vroom, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, first, 7:04.20 (meet record)
Gillian Porter, Franco-Cite, third, 7:19.73
Helen McCulligh, West Carleton, fourth, 7:43.32
John McCrae, first, 4:11.16
Louis-Riel, second, 4:13.72
Luca Nicoletti, Paul-Desmarais, first, 14.48
Andile Mabaleka, Ashbury, second, 14.75
Leo Wallner, St. Francis Xavier, third, 14.76
Nolan Legare, John McCrae, third, 2:01.45
Ribensly Boisette, Paul-Desmarais, third, 11.43
Joshua Scatliffe, Holy Trinity, fourth, 11.45
Nolan Legare, John McCrae, second, 50.54
Thomas Kukla-Colby, Nepean, third, 50.87
Logan Reid, Merivale, fourth, 52.44
St. Matthew, third, 45.82
Jay Yetman, Glebe, second, 6.38 metres
Ethan Carnegie, Brookfield, third, 6.11 metres
Quentin Heredia, Gloucester, fourth, 6.09 metres
Jade Rempel-Facey, Colonel By, second, 13.63 metres
Connor Fraser, Immaculata, third, 13.49
Aziz Dagnogo, De La Salle, second, 1.80 metres
Leo Wallner, St. Francis Xavier, third, 1.75 metres
Connor Fraser, Immaculata, first, 46.05 metres
Audrey Goddard, Merivale, first, 14.79
Lara Collins, Glebe, third, 16.40
Merivale, first, 52.61
Lester B. Pearson, second, 53.08
Glebe, fourth, 53.43
Gillian Porter, Franco-Cité, second, 2:21.01
Grace Munro, West Carleton, third, 2:24.13
Freya Hurst, Glebe, fourth, 2:25.47
Charlotte Murchison, St. Mother Teresa, fourth, 13.11
Amelia Van Brabant, Earl of March, first, 9:50.66
Elizabeth Vroom, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, fourth, 10:25.16
Emily Brennan, Sacred Heart, first, 1:00.59
Cora McQuinn, John McCrae, second, 1:01.01
Grace Munro, West Carleton, third, 1:01.49
Charlotte Murchison, St. Mother Teresa, fourth, 1:01.54
Audrey Goddard, Merivale, second, 1.55 metres
Sara Wallace, St. Laurent, first, 5.31 metres
Adelle MacLeod, A.Y. Jackson, second, 5.28 metres
William Sanders, St. Mother Teresa, first, 2:04.09
Damien Richer, Franco-Cité, first, 11.41
Janssen Assogba, Colonel By, fourth, 11.97
William Sanders, St. Mother Teresa, first, 52.46
Safwan El Mansari, De La Salle, second, 54.25
Eric Zielonka, Brookfield, third, 54.29
Colonel By, first, 46.54
Ashbury, second, 46.92
St. Mother Teresa, third, 47.09
Derek Strachan, Glebe, second, 9:21.81
Kiefer Melinz Dupuis, Glebe, third, 9:45.56
Liam Downes, Nepean, 9:53.23
Dustin Coldrey, Colonel By, first, 12.79
Pj Lobetti, Immaculata, third, 11.83 metres
Justin Rowe, St. Mother Teresa, tie for first, 1.70 metres
Jambo Finlaystone, Gloucester, tie for first, 1.70 metres
Jaida Courteau, St. Peter, first, 1.45 metres
Maika Albert-Beland, Beatrice-Desloge, third, 1.40 metres
Jocelyn Giannotti, Holy Trinity, first, 10:35.2
Bianca Lemon-Yukes, De La Salle, third, 10:54.34
Lauren Alexander, Glebe, second, 2:23.93
Molly Cadieux, Sacred Heart, fourth, 2:28.97
Louis-Riel, second, 53.81
Danica Mulvihill, Louis-Riel, third, 13.47
Danica Mulvihill, Louis Riel, fourth, 13.54
Rachel Lambley, All Saints, 1:04.48
Elise Katsube, Sir Robert Borden, third, 26.26 metres
Frankie Cobby, St. Peter, second, 10.13 metres
Steffy Tagne-Djorn, St. Mark, second, 10.48 metres
Manassee Bwana, Mer Bleue, fourth, 9.84 metres
Ibrahim Domiati, Louis-Riel, first, 53,56
Zachary Jeggo, Louis-Riel, second, 54.06
Daniel Mikwete, Immaculata, third, 54.89
Chase Gillespie, Ashbury, fourth, 56.24
Colonel By, first, 47.73
Immaculata, second, 47.89
Louis-Riel, third, 47.90
Timeo Atonfo, Gisèle-Lalonde, first, 15.28
Preston Schwarz, Ashbury, first, 11.49
Will Batley, West Carleton, second, 11.52
Ibrahim Domiati, Louis-Riel, fourth, 11.97
Zachary Jeggo, Louis-Riel, second, 2:10.52
Aleem Khaida, Colonel By, second, 11.39 metres
Timeo Atonfo, Gisèle-Lalonde, first, 6.27 metres
Tayte Timpson, Immaculata, second, 5.79 metres
Aleem Khaida, Colonel By, third, 5.71 metres
Kaiya Woodcock, Sacred Heart, first, 12.81
Sascha Vilkoff, Merivale, second, 13.14
Jiayang Rong, Merivale, third, 13.15
Isabella Chiumera, St. Pius X, first, 10:36.88
Grace Streek, Merivale, second, 11:02.59
Kate Johnston-Zemek, third, 11:33.06
Merivale, first, 52.50
Sacred Heart, second, 53.73
Deborah Adeleye, Ashbury, third, 13.94
Kaiya Woodcock, Sacred Heart, first, 5.09 metres
Lecia Patrick, Ashbury, second, 5.01 metres
Megan Zucker, Ashbury, third, 19.33 metres
Thabis Mangena-Jellema, Merivale, fourth, 21.81 metres
– with files from Dan Plouffe & Mark Colley
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 50 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 High Achievers “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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