HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
When you hear the words Grand Slam, two sports immediately come to mind – tennis and baseball.
By winning the Australian, Wimbledon, Roland Garros and U.S. Open titles in a single year, you win the Grand Slam of professional tennis.
If you hit a home run with the bases loaded, baseball fans will rave about your Grand Slam.
This may be a bit far-fetched, but maybe the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association could introduce a unique performance award for track and field athletes. If the student-athlete wins his or her event at the conference, city, regional and provincial levels in one season, a Grand Slam award could be presented to recognize such a rare feat.
This may have been achieved in the past, but no former high school athlete would have accomplished it with such magnificence as Elizabeth Vroom did during this spring’s track and field season.
In her final high school girls’ open 2,000-metre steeplechase race, Vroom once again dominated the hurdles endurance test in dramatic fashion at the OFSAA track and field championships Friday in Toronto.
The Grade 12 Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School student-athlete not only won the gold medal, but also broke the OFSAA and Canadian interscholastic records with a time of six minutes, 52.19 seconds.
Molly Stain of Adam Scott (Peterborough) previously set both records of 6:57.89 in 2019, the last year the OFSAA championships were staged before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. The girls’ open steeplechase over 2,000 metres was introduced in 2019, after many years as a 1,500-metre race.
Vroom was chased to the finish line by silver-medallist Gillian Porter of Franco-Cité. Porter finished in 7:01.47. Arnprior’s Louise Stonham was fifth in 7:14.90.
Entering the OFSAA championships, Vroom won her three previous significant high school races with record-breaking efforts and posting faster times each time on the track – NCSSAA East Conference, 7:22.12; NCSSAA championships, 7:13.57; and East Regionals, 7:04.20.
“I’m really excited,” Vroom said, after winning the opening, early-morning race at East Regionals last week. “Making it there (OFSAA) 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 (win a) medal in the steeplechase.”
Vroom, who will study engineering at Queen’s University in 2022-23, also won Thursday’s OFSAA steeplechase qualifying heat in 7:03.23.
She earned one of two gold medals in an 11-medal day for NCSSAA student-athletes. The three-day provincial high school championships are scheduled to end Saturday.
William Sanders of St. Mother Teresa was the city’s other gold medallist, capturing the boys’ junior 400 metres by almost a quarter of a second in a personal-best 51.51 seconds.
Merivale’s Audrey Goddard was doubly fast in the girls’ senior 100-metre hurdles, placing second in the final in a best-ever 13.99, after also dropping her personal-best time to 14.29 with the best clocking after the heats.
On his sixth and final throw, Connor Fraser of Immaculata tossed the discus 47.71 metres for the boys’ senior silver medal.
A pair of boys’ novice athletes also earned silver medals. Ibrahim Domiati of Louis-Riel was second in the 400 metres in 52.71, and Timeo Atonfo of Gisèle-Lalonde was runner-up in the 100-metre hurdles in 14.64.
By running a personal-best 14.14, Luca Nicoletti of Paul-Desmarais placed third in the boys’ senior 110-metre hurdles. He upped his performance for the final, after placing sixth in qualifying at 14.56.
Colonel By boys’ junior athletes captured two bronze medals. Dustin Coldrey used a fifth-round, personal-best toss of 14.01 metres for a third-place result in the shot put.
Jonathan Ngo-Minh Rusimovic, Janssen Assogba, Makhtar Raji and Ladi Ogunmekan finished third in the 4×100-metre relay in 45.34.
West Carleton’s Will Batley capped his first season in track and field by winning the bronze medal in the boys’ novice 100 metres in 11.38. Ashbury’s Preston Schwarz was sixth in 11.43.
Here are the other top-eight Friday results from NCSSAA athletes:
· Amelia Van Brabant, Earl of March, fourth, girls’ senior 1,500 metres, 4:33.47
· Zachary Sikka, St. Paul, fourth, boys’ open 2,000-metre steeplechase, 6:12.94
· Naomi Byam, St. Mother Teresa, fourth, girls’ junior 400 metres, 58.84
· Colonel By boys’ novice 4×100-metre relay team, fourth, Charlie Cameron, Aleem Khaida, Ezra Ng-A-Fook, Mason Brennan, 46.91
· Andile Mabaleka, Ashbury, fourth, boys’ senior 110-metre hurdles, 14.59
· Saul Taler, Glebe, fifth, boys’ novice, 1,500 metres, 4:16.98
· Immaculata boys’ novice 4×100-metre relay team, fifth, Daniel Mikwete, Tayte Timpson, Brody Fraser, Joshua Haughton, 47.43
· Zachary Jeggo, Louis-Riel, sixth, boys’ novice 400 metres, 54.55
· Aleem Khaida, Colonel By, sixth, boys’ novice triple jump, 12.13 metres
· Manassée Bwana, Mer Bleue, sixth, girls’ junior shot put, 10.76 metres
· Kaiya Woodcock, Sacred Heart, seventh, girls’ novice 100 metres, 12.96
· Damien Richer, Franco-Cite, seventh, boys’ junior 100 metres, 11.42
· Isabella Chiumera, St. Pius X, seventh, girls’ novice, 1,500 metres, 4:50.44
· Lauren Alexander, Glebe, seventh, girls’ junior 1,500 metres, 4:49.18
· Aziz Dagnogo, De La Salle, seventh, boys’ senior high jump, 1.85 metres
· Frankie Cobby, St. Peter, seventh, girls’ junior triple jump, 10.35 metres
· Nolan Legare, John McCrae, eighth, boys’ senior 400 metres, 50.76
· Jocelyn Giannotti, Holy Trinity, eighth, girls’ junior 1,500 metres, 4:49.56
· Louis-Riel girls’ junior 4×100-metre relay team, eighth, Danica Mulvihill, Chloe Joly, Aissata Barry, Chloe Charron, 52.90.
ST. PETER, LOUIS-RIEL PLAY FOR OFSAA SOCCER MEDALS
Two National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association schools have won soon-to-be-determined medals at the OFSAA soccer championships, while another Ottawa school will play for the bronze at the provincial high school rugby championships.
St. Peter shut out Holy Trinity of GHAC 2-0 in the OFSAA girls’ AAA soccer championship quarterfinals in London and has advanced to Saturday’s scheduled medal round.
The Knights, who are slated to play Brooklin in the semifinals, won all four pool games, posted the best goal-differential at +12 and tied for the most preliminary-round goals at 13.
Undefeated Louis-Riel posted its third shutout victory and fourth win overall at the OFSAA boys’ AA soccer event in Walkerton, after defeating Father Henry Carr on penalty kicks to resolve a scoreless regulation game plus overtime. The Rebelles are scheduled to play Holy Cross in Saturday’s semifinals.
After winning its first two games by outscoring its opposition 76-12, Cairine Wilson fell 14-7 to Adam Scott of Peterborough in the semifinals at the OFSAA boys’ A/AA rugby championship in Cobourg. Cairine Wilson is scheduled to face St. Mary of COSSA in the bronze-medal game.
Glebe lost its second game and was eliminated at the OFSAA boys’ AAA rugby championship in London, after its 7-7 match with Collingwood was decided on kicks.
St. Mother Teresa followed a pair of ties on Thursday with a pair of losses to Donald A. Wilson and Michael Power/St. Joseph and missed the OFSAA boys’ soccer AAA championship playoffs in London.
After winning its first three preliminary games at the OFSAA girls’ AA soccer championship in Bradford, Garneau was defeated 3-1 by Mother Teresa of London in the quarterfinals.
In baseball, St. Joseph dropped its final game 14-3 to St. Michael’s of Kemptville at the OFSAA East Regional tournament in Toronto.
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 49 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @martincleary.
HELP SHINE A LIGHT ON LOCAL SPORT! The Ottawa Sports Pages has proudly provided a voice for local sport for over 10 years, but we need your help to continue another 10 and beyond. Please donate to the Ottawa Sports Pages Fund today.