Athletics High Schools

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Record-breaking sprinters charge into OFSAA track and field championships

By Martin Cleary

The new generation of Ottawa sprinters could take next week’s OFSAA track and field championships by storm on their home track.

They certainly paid no respect to the record book on the final day of the OFSAA East Regional track and field meet Friday at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility.

The National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association will register a lengthy list of runners, jumpers and throwers for the June 8-10 OFSAA provincial high school championships, including five gifted sprinters capable of winning medals and challenging records.

Novice sprinters Jorai Oppong-Nketiah of Pierre-de-Blois and Ange-Mathis Kramo of Paul-Desmarais, junior speedsters Will Batley of West Carleton, Timeo Atonfo of Gisèle-Lalonde and Zachary Jeggo of Louis-Riel were the preeminent Ottawa athletes at the regional meet and have the potential to shine again at OFSAA.

A day after winning the girls’ novice 200 metres, Oppong-Nketiah smashed the straight-ahead 100-metre dash record not once, but twice. She posted the fastest time in qualifying with a record run of 12.27 seconds and rewrote that a few hours later with a startling 12.19-second clocking to win the final.

The former 100-metre record belonged to Michelle Ayotte of Cairine Wilson, who ran 12.42 seconds in 2015.

“I’m proud of myself. Hopefully, next week I get a new record,” Oppong-Nketiah beamed. “I want 11.9 (seconds). That’s what I’ve said to myself. For girls, running that fast is pretty good.”

The OFSAA girls’ novice 100-metre record was set in 2015 at 12.00 seconds.

Oppong-Nketiah’s good start and arm movements helped her post the fastest 100-metre time in the girls’ novice, junior and senior finals at regionals.

“I’m shocked, very shocked,” she added. “The girls are older, so biologically, they should be faster. Whatever God has planned is what I’m going to follow.”

Oppong-Nketiah had company in the novice record spotlight. In the heats, Kramo tied the boys’ 100-metre record of 11.25 seconds set by Dorbor Kollie of Longfields-Davidson Heights in 2013. Kramo threatened to make the record strictly his, but his winning time in the final registered at 11.27 seconds.

West Carleton’s Will Batley (centre) overcame an early deficit to edge Ashbury’s Preston Schwarz (left) to the finish line as both athletes dipped under 11 seconds in the boys’ junior 100 metres. Photo: Dan Plouffe

For the second straight day, Batley won a sprint final in a regional meet record time, claiming victory in the boys’ junior 100 metres by dipping under the 11-second mark.

His unbeatable time of 10.94 seconds allowed him to eclipse another one of two-time Olympian Segun Makinde’s records, when he raced for Colonel By and ran 10.97 seconds in 2007. Batley showed signs of conquering the record, when he recorded the fastest time in the preliminary round at 11.02 seconds.

“I felt like I had to push it,” explained Batley, who took down a second record of Makinde’s in as many days.

“I saw the meet record was (10.97 seconds). So, I wanted to get the 10 (-second) mark. It was my goal. I wanted to get under 11 (seconds) before OFSAA. That’s pretty nice to have it done.”

Ashbury’s Preston Schwarz was equally impressive with a second-place time in the final of 10.99 seconds.

On Thursday, Batley won the 200 metres in 21.89 seconds, which surpassed Makinde’s leading time of 22.03 seconds.

Batley finished his regional meet with two more silver medal performances with his West Carleton teammates.

He anchored the boys’ senior 4×100-metre relay team of Altan Erman, Simon Richardson and Beckham Tapp to a second-place showing in 44.10 seconds. Merivale was third at 44.18 seconds. Batley then joined Erman, Beau Reade and Keiran McNeely to finish as runners-up in the boys’ open 4×400-metre relay in 3:32.72.

Gisèle-Lalonde’s Timeo Atonfo earned a new OFSAA East Regional boys’ junior 100-metre hurdles record – one of many set by national capital athletes at the high school provincials qualifier on June 2 at Terry Fox Athletic Facility. Photo: Dan Plouffe

Atonfo finished the regional meet, which qualified athletes for the OFSAA championships, with three first-place finishes, one record and one near record.

His 100-metre sprint involved hurdles and he blazed through that challenge in an unprecedented 13.76 seconds, winning the race by 0.99 seconds over runner-up Mason Brennan of Colonel By, who was stopped in 14.75 seconds.

Atonfo’s winning time broke the boys’ junior 100-metre hurdles’ record of 13.91 seconds, which was set by Matthew Ferguson of Perth in 2014.

“I was tired (coming into the hurdles’ final),” said Atonfo as he also was competing in the triple jump at the same time. “I wasn’t sure what I was going to run, but my coach was watching me and she said to go for 13.8 (seconds).

“I thought she was kind of crazy, but then I just clicked between the hurdles, my speed was on. At the end, I hit the hurdle, so I wasn’t sure if I’d have it or not, but it was still a pretty good race.”

A winning jump of 13.57 metres left Atonfo close to the regional meet record of 13.65 metres, which remains in the possession of Joshua Foster of Longfields-Davidson Heights from 2018. In Thursday’s long jump, Atonfo was first in 6.48 metres.

Unlike Oppong-Nketiah, Kramo, Batley and Atonfo, Jeggo preferred to do a full lap around the track and won the boys’ junior 400-metre final in a meet record 50.17 seconds. The 50.39-second mark he overcame belonged to past Team Canada runner Mike Robertson of Char-Lan, who was on hand to see the record fall while coaching St. Pius X.

St. Mother Teresa’s William Sanders, John McCrae’s Nolan Legare and De La Salle’s Safwan El Mansari placed one-two-three in the boys’ senior 400 metres with respective times of 50.22 seconds, 50.31 seconds and 50.87 seconds.

With past champion and older brother David watching, Ashbury’s Daniel Adeleye won the boys’ 110-metre hurdles. Photo: Dan Plouffe

The NCSSAA’s other boys’ senior winners were Nicolas Belan, Canterbury, 800 metres, 1:55.31; Daniel Adeleye, Ashbury, 110-metre hurdles, 15.46 seconds; Yoel Niangoran, Paul-Desmarais, long jump, 6.65 metres; Aaron Mukiwa, Gloucester, shot put, 13.05 metres; Aziz Dagnogo, De La Salle, high jump, 1.95 metres; and James Budrow, John McCrae, boys’ ambulatory 100 metres, 13.30 seconds.

There was a similar NCSSAA medal sweep in the girls’ senior 800 metres as Jocelyn Giannotti of Holy Trinity was first in 2:18.11 and was followed by Bianca Lemon-Yukes of De La Salle in 2:20.86 and Lauren Alexander of Glebe in 2:21.38.

Sara Wallace of St-Laurent was the girls’ senior long jump champion at 5.17 metres and was joined in the senior winners’ circle by Danica Mulvihill of Louis-Riel in the 100 metres at 12.80 seconds.

The boys’ junior 4×100-metre timed final saw Louis-Riel lower the regional meet record to 44.86 seconds from 45.08 seconds, which was set by Thousand Islands in 2013.

The girls’ junior 3,000 metres also belonged to NCSSAA athletes as Isabella Chiumera of St. Pius X won in 10:42.24, while Grace Streek of Peak Centre was second in 10:44.45 and Kate Johnston-Zemek of Ashbury took third in 10:56.44. Chiumera also led an NCSSAA medal sweep in the 1,500 metres on Thursday.

Lecia Patrick (left) and Deborah Adeleye celebrated medals of all colours for the Ashbury Colts. Photo: Dan Plouffe

The same was true in the girls’ junior 4×100-metre relay as Merivale, Ashbury and Sacred Heart captured the top-three places with respective times of 51.04 seconds, 51.84 seconds and 51.88 seconds.

Lecia Patrick and Deborah Adeleye, who ran the opening two legs for the Ashbury relay team, were first and third respectively in the triple jump at 10.95 metres and 10.30 metres.

A day after winning the girls’ junior 300-metre hurdles, Opeongo’s Quinn Coughlin posted the fastest times in the 800 metres at 2:21.48 and the 400 metres at 57.95.

Sacred Heart’s Kaiya Woodcock had her second dramatic victory in as many days, taking the girls’ junior 100 metres by one one-hundredth of a second over Chloe Saunders of Granite Ridge – 12.62 seconds to 12.63 seconds. On Thursday, Woodcock won the long jump over Ashbury’s Deborah Adeleye – 5.02 metres to 5.01 metres.

Girls’ junior 100 metres champion Kaiya Woodcock of Sacred Heart. Photo: Dan Plouffe

Paul-Desmarais’s Sadie Gilbert was the best in girls’ junior shot put at 11.08 metres, while Glebe’s Waverley Lyons was the winner of the high jump at 1.53 metres.

“I think it was just meant to be,” said Gilbert, who is the daughter of Glenroy Gilbert, the 1996 Olympic relay gold medallist and head coach of Canada’s track and field team.

“I was always a strong girl, so shot put just seemed to be something that came easy. Now, I’m here and I managed to make it to OFSAA, so that’s fun.”

Gilbert trains with former Olympic shot putter Tim Nedow, but her main focus is soccer. She is a striker with the Ottawa St. Anthony Futuro Soccer Academy.

Girls’ junior shot put champion Sadie Gilbert of Paul-Desmarais. Photo: Dan Plouffe

Meredith McCabe of Lisgar was the girls’ novice 400-metre winner in 1:01.05.

James Budrow of John McCrae was first in the boys’ ambulatory 100 metres in 13.30 seconds.

John McCrae’s James Budrow won the boys’ ambulatory 100 metres. Photo: Dan Plouffe

The podium positions for the girls’ and boys’ novice 3,000 metres were all decided by less than one second.

Napanee’s Jack Gregory edged Colonel By’s Owen Siderus and Hillcrest’s Charlie Mortimer to the line by .28 and .71 seconds respectively in a winning time of 9:40.13 on the boys’ side.

Girls’ novice racers I.E. Weldon’s Kyla Farr and Lucy Stephenson were first and second, just a touch ahead of Glebe’s Julia Van Wesenbeeck in third.

It was another tight finish in the open girls’ 4×400-metre relay, as the Glebe team of Sophie Trott, Isla McCabe, Lara Collins and Lauren Alexander beat Thousand Islands by .05 seconds in 4:11.77.

Other national capital athletes earning second-place results were:

· Derek Strachan, Glebe, open 2,000-metre steeplechase, 6:20.44;
· Aziz Dagnogo, De La Salle, boys’ senior long jump, 6.63 metres;
· Sopriala Benigo, Ashbury, girls’ senior shot put, 10.40 metres;
· Lara Collins, Glebe, girls’ senior 100-metre hurdles, 15.33 seconds;
· Olivia Baggley, Gloucester, girls’ senior 3,000 metres, 10:23.85;
· Andie Harris, John McCrae, girls’ senior 400 metres, 1:00.31;
· Daniel Cova, Louis-Riel, boys’ junior 800 metres, 2:01.23;
· Saul Taler, Glebe, boys’ junior 3,000 metres, 9:33.40;
· Brody Fraser, Joshua Haughton, Francis Mullowney, Aleem Khaida, Immaculata, boys’ junior 4×100-metre relay, 45.50 seconds;
· Henrik Neuspiel, John McCrae, boys’ junior shot put, 13.39 metres;
· Wyatt Sammon, South Carleton, boys’ junior high jump, 1.80 metres;
· Molly Barber, Nepean, girls’ junior 400 metres, 1:00.16, and 800 metres, 2:23.00;
· Lecia Patrick, Deborah Adeleye, Sabina Koziakova, Maryam Balaa, Ashbury, girls’ junior 4×100-metre relay, 51.84;
· Shea Sampson, Lisgar, boys’ novice discus, 37.79 metres;
· Eli Mordel, Sir Robert Borden, boys’ novice long jump, 5.69 metres.

Also capturing third-place finishes were:

· Damien Richer, Franco-Cite, boys’ senior 100 metres, 10.93 seconds;
· Aaron Cheung, Flory Muka, Braden Reid, Logan Reid, Merivale, boys’ senior 4×100-metre relay, 44.18 seconds;
· Milan Thai-Reid, Longfields-Davidson Heights, girls’ senior 100 metres, 12.82 seconds;
· Danica Mulvihill, Louis-Riel, girls’ senior 100-metre hurdles, 15.54 seconds;
· Tatiana Pender, Franco-Ouest, girls’ senior 400 metres, 1:00.39;
· Yassmeen Eid, Christina Sellers, Milan Thai-Reid, Nyla Thai-Reid, Longfields-Davidson Heights, girls’ senior 4×100-metre relay, 51.70 seconds;
· Chase Gillespie, Ashbury, boys’ junior, 400 metres, 53.14 seconds;
· Noah Smith, Immaculata, boys’ junior 3,000 metres, 9:48.17;
· Owen Whike, Glebe, boys’ junior pole vault, 3.00 metres (tie);
· Payton Lapolice, Alexa Chase, Lei-Lei Fan-Saschenbrecker, Brook Gnaedinger, Sacred Heart, girls’ junior 4×100-metre relay, 51.88;
· Griffin Brennan, Immaculata, boys’ novice, 800 metres, 2:05.95;
· Taisei Tan, Béatrice-Desloges, boys’ novice 400 metres, 54.90 seconds;
· Kyra Lauter, Franco-Ouest, girls’ novice 800 metres, 2:25.62;
· Naomi Koschade, South Carleton, girls’ novice 80-metre hurdles, 13.23 seconds;
· Kyra Dobson Takoff, Sir Robert Borden, girls’ novice pole vault, 2.15 metres;
· Emilie Kelly, Béatrice-Desloges, girls’ novice long jump, 4.67 metres;
· Marika Holan-Stutz, Ottawa Tech, girls’ intellectual class 800 metres, 3:31.31.

– with files from Dan Plouffe

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