By Martin Cleary
High jumper Kai Gibson and long jumper Lecia Patrick had a field day Thursday at their introduction to the OFSAA track and field championships in Toronto.
During the opening session of the three-day provincial high school finals, Gibson soared to the boys’ novice high jump gold medal, while Patrick secured the silver medal in the girls’ novice long jump.
The championships featured finals in 16 field events and qualifying races in the boys’ and girls’ 2,000-metre open steeplechase, 400 and 1,500 metres and the 4×100-metre relays.
Gibson, a student-athlete at Longfields-Davidson Heights, was in top form as he tied with Jeramiah Zomerman of Chatham Christian at 1.80 metres. But Gibson was awarded first place because of fewer competition misses than Zomerman (six against nine respectively).
After passing on the opening two heights of 1.35 metres and 1.40 metres, Gibson cleared the bar at 1.45, 1.50, 1.55, 1.60, 1.65 and 1.70 metres with only one knock down.
After staring at the 1.75-metre bar, Gibson approached and missed his first two attempts, but cleared it on his third and final try. It was a different situation at 1.80 metres, as he only needed one jump to stay alive and move ahead.
Zomerman, meanwhile, kept pace, but he had to work harder. He cleared 1.70, 1.75 and 1.80 metres on his third attempts.
Gibson and Zomerman took the bar to 1.83 metres, but the competition ended with three misses from each jumper. By clearing 1.80 metres, Gibson set a high-school seasonal best mark. He jumped 1.75 metres to win the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association title and 1.70 metres to place second behind Ashbury’s Preston Schwarz at East Regionals.
Schwarz, whose primary sport is baseball, stayed consistent at 1.70 metres and placed fifth in the OFSAA boys’ novice high jump, while Mason Brennan of Colonel By was 11th at 1.60 metres.
Patrick saved her best effort in the girls’ novice long jump until the sixth and final round, when she sailed 5.09 metres. That distance was the second best of her high-school campaign, after going 5.19 metres to win the NCSSAA East Conference title last month.
After a slow start, where she went only 4.09 metres on her first jump and faulted on her second attempt, the Ashbury student needed a strong performance in the third round to qualify for the top eight and three more jumps.
Patrick had a successful 4.80-metre jump in round three and continued to build through the rest of her competition, going 4.84 metres, 4.96 metres and finally 5.09 metres.
Kaiya Woodcock of Sacred Heart placed fifth in the long jump at 4.84 metres, which happened in her sixth- and final-round jump.
A fifth-round toss of 14.59 metres gave Connor Fraser of Immaculata fourth place in the boys’ senior shot put.
Colonel By’s Dustin Coldrey was fifth in the boys’ junior discus at 40.16 metres.
Looking for her fourth consecutive high school win this season in the girls’ open 2,000-metre steeplechase, Elizabeth Vroom of Sir Wilfrid Laurier was the fastest runner in the qualifying heats for the final in a seasonal-best seven minutes, 3.23 seconds. Gillian Porter of Franco-Cité was third overall after the heats in 7:07.49.
William Sanders of St. Mother Teresa posted the best heat time of 51.67 to qualify for the boys’ junior 400-metre final.
Ibrahim Domiati and Zachery Jeggo, both of Louis-Riel, advanced to the boys’ novice 400-metre final, placing third and fifth overall in the heats respectively in 52.68 and 53.86.
Glebe’s Saul Taler was fifth overall in the boys’ novice 1,500 metres in 4:24.15, which elevated him to the 12-runner final.
Zachary Sikka of St. Paul’s recorded the fifth-best time in the boys’ open 2,000-metre steeplechase heats in 6:15.87 and qualified for the final.
Nolan Legare of John McCrae will line up for the boys’ senior 400-metre final, after running the seventh-best heat time of 49.47. Thomas Kukla-Colby of Merivale missed the final eight by the narrowest of margins. He tied with Dylan Popejoy of St. Mary at 49.64, but the photo-finish judge snapped the deadlock by breaking down their times to thousandths of a second – 49.635 to 49.638.
Naomi Byam of St. Mother Teresa registered the fourth-best time in the girls’ junior 400 metres at 58.42 and will move into the final. In the girls’ junior 1,500-metre heats, Lauren Alexander of Glebe and Jocelyn Giannotti of Holy Trinity were eighth and 12th respectively in 4:46.17 and 4:47.88.
The NCSSAA will have two runners in the girls’ novice 1,500-metre final as Isabella Chiumera of St. Pius X was ninth overall after the heats in 4:46.02 and Clara Villeneuve of Paul-Desmarais took 11th in 4:53.40.
At deadline, the results of the girls’ senior 1,500 metres and the six 4×100-metre relays were not posted on the OFSAA website.
OTTAWA SCHOOLS HAVE WINNING TOUCH AT OFSAA SOCCER, RUGBY
NCSSAA champions in boys and girls’ soccer and boys’ rugby had a near perfect start at six different OFSSA championships, winning eight games, tying two others and losing only one match.
Garneau defeated Monsignor Paul Dwyer 2-1 and St. Mary’s Cobourg 3-0 to move into first place halfway through pool play at the OFSAA girls’ AA soccer championship in Bradford.
St. Peter are the pool C leaders at the OFSAA girls’ AAA soccer championship in London, following a pair of shutout wins over Donald A. Wilson, 2-0, and St. Peter Catholic, 3-0.
Louis-Riel was at its offensive best, blanking Philopateer Christian 6-0 and St. Mary 4-1 in preliminary games at the OFSAA boys’ AA soccer championship in Walkerton.
St. Mother Teresa neither won nor lost at the OFSAA boys’ AAA soccer championship, after drawing 2-2 with St. Martin Catholic and 0-0 with St. Michael’s College.
At the OFSAA boys’ A/AA rugby championship in Cobourg, Cairine Wilson defeated Arnprior 42-0 and Henry Street 34-12 to advance to Friday’s scheduled championship medal-round semifinal against Adam Scott.
Glebe dropped its opening game at the OFSAA boys’ AAA rugby championship in London by a 17-12 score to Iroquois Ridge.
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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