Whether jumping or running – or as is the case with the steeplechase, a combination of both – Semiahmoo Peninsula athletes shone at BC High School Track and Field Championships last weekend in Nanaimo.
High jump competitions were particularly successful for South Surrey high-schoolers, led by Elgin Park Secondary senior Joel Della Siega, who tied his own B.C. high school record by clearing the bar at two-metres even – five centimeters better than second-place jumper Michael Lambert of Mission.
Della Siega – who will jump at UBC next season – originally set the two-metre mark last year, winning a gold-medal as a Grade 11. He also won the provincial title in Grade 10.
“It feels pretty good,” he said after the competition.
“It’s really nice just having that reassurance and its great for your confidence.”
His winning jump was five centimetres short of his personal best, but he was satisfied after a long, hot day of jumping.
“The biggest thing is just mental toughness,” said Della Siega, who is inching closer to the 2.16-m qualifying standard he’ll need to reach this summer if he is to qualify for World Junior Track and Field Championships set for Poland.
“You’re out here for a long time. It’s an absolute marathon. You’ve just got to stay calm, remember to do your thing.”
One of Della Siega’s high-jump training partners, Semiahmoo Grade 10 student Alexa Porpaczy, also had a fine weekend in Nanaimo, topping the field in the junior girls high jump.
Like Della Siega – with whom Porpaczy trains in a Lower Mainland-based high-performance group that includes Olympian Mike Mason – the Semiahmoo junior’s victory gave her gold medals in three consecutive high-school provincial meets, having won her age division in both Grade 8 and 9 as well.
Porpaczy won this year’s junior title with a jump of 1.73 m, which was just two centimetres shy of the personal best she set earlier this year at an indoor meet, the Percy Williams Indoor Games at the Richmond Oval.
Not to be outdone by their South Surrey rivals, Earl Marriott Secondary athletes also secured their fair share of podium finishes, with the school’s senior girls combining to top the overall senior girls team standings.
The senior girls’ banner win was highlighted by Georgia Ginther, who won gold in the senior girls 1,500-m steeplechase, breaking a B.C. record by two-hundredths of a second in the process.
It’s the second year in a row the EMS track star has clocked a record-breaking performance in steeplechase – last year, she set the junior mark, which stood for a year until it was broken on the weekend. She also finished fourth in the 3,000-m.
The other Marriott medal in senior girls competition came in the pole vault, in which Chloe Alkema won silver with a 2.8-m jump.
The Mariners senior girls (Ally Lydyniuk, Lisa Seidelmann, Ginther, Daniella Zietlow) also placed fourth in both the 4×100-m and 4×400-m relays; Jade Duncanson was sixth in the 100-m dash and Cassidy Sader finished fifth in the junior girls 80-m hurdles.
Elsewhere at the Nanaimo meet, Semiahmoo’s Julia Greer won a bronze medal in the senior girls 1,500-m with a time of four minutes, 44.27 seconds, finishing just 1.1-seconds back of Clayton Heights’ Christina Sevsek, who won silver; Panorama Ridge’s Amarveer Sandhu was third in both the senior boys 100- and 200-m races; Elgin Park’s Camille Roberts was eighth in hammer throw; Semiahmoo’s Dawson Ribeiro was eighth in the senior boys ,2,000-m steeplechase while teammate Connor Sinclair won bronze in shotput with a toss of 12.87-m. Fellow Totem Michael Downhaniuk was fifth in triple jump and seventh in long jump; Quinton Brown was fifth in 400m hurdles and Elise Burgert was fourth in senior girls hurdles of the same distance.
Semi’s senior girls 4×400-m relay team (Burgert, Kara Lauer, Emily Lang and Greer) also won silver.
Other junior results included Semiahmoo’s Haley Ribeiro, who won silver in the 1,500-m steeplechase; Semi’s Gabrielle Hack, gold in the girls triple jump and fourth in the 400-m; Southridge’s Cayla Smith, who was fourth in the girls 800-m; Earl Marriott’s Sajjan Sarai, fourth in junior girls 800-m; Rori Denness of EMS, gold in junior girls javelin; EMS’ Olivia Van Ryswyk, tied for top spot in pole vault; and White Rock Christian Academy’s Elizabeth Gin, 12th in girls 1,500-m.
A handful of Grade 8s also found their way onto the podium.
Two Earl Marriott Mariners found themselves with medals – Angela Peters and Jeremiah Mackie.
Peters nabbed a silver medal in the triple jump with a score of 10.09-m, nine centimetres back of gold medallist Ehren Paterson of Sentinel Secondary, while Mackie also won silver, in the boys 3,000-m.
Mackie – who was also fourth in the 1,500-m – was less than six seconds back of the first-place runner. Mackie’s time of nine minutes, 57.56 seconds was also less than six seconds shy of the former provincial Grade 8 record set by his older brother, Jaxon, in 2014.
Another EMS athlete, Alanna Cunha, had a busier weekend than most, competing in three events – javelin, long jump and hurdles – finishing in the top 12 in each competition.
Semiahmoo’s Michael Miller also boarded the return ferry home with a medal around his neck, having won silver in the boys 1,500-m race, eight seconds shy of winner Keagan Ingram of Summerland.
Miller’s teammate, Darren Ahn, also came home with some hardware, finishing third in the high jump with a best score of 1.65-m.
Semi’s boys 4×400 relay team – made up of Aneel Gillan, Miller, Bill Kang and Daniel Gushak – added to the school’s medal collection with a bronze medal, as well.
Rounding out the local medal haul was Southridge School’s Maya Kobylanski, who won silver in the girls 3,000-m, and Lord Tweedsmuir’s gold-medal winning girls 4×100 relay team of Samantha Ogbeiwi, Kim Bohmee, Taya Suttill and India Aikins.
– with files from Greg Sakaki