Semiahmoo’s Jessica Williams wins the junior girls 400-m event.

Juniors on right track and provincials

Young stars lead the way for South Surrey schools at BC Track and Field championships.

If results from last weekend’s BC Track and Field Championships are any indication, South Surrey schools could be a year or two away from a true golden age of the sport.

Normally, the highlights at provincials – held last week at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park – are led by senior athletes, and while there were a handful of podium finishes to speak of at that level, it was the junior-aged athletes who really stole the show this year.

The Semiahmoo Totems finished third overall in combined junior scores, led by the junior girls, who finished first, while the boys were third.

“It’s the third provincial title in a row for this particular group,” said Semiahmoo track coach Scott Yewchuk. “Two years ago, they won in Grade 8/9, and then last year, when they changed the (divisions) to be Grades 9/10, they won again.

“It was just a really great weekend to see them come through with some of the best performances of their lives.”

The Totems were led by a quartet of runners – Alexa Porpaczy, Haley Ribeiro, Gabrielle Hack and Jessica Williams – who teamed up to win gold in both the junior girls 4×100-m and 4×400-m relays, and set B.C. records in both races, too.

The foursome had strong individual results, as well.

Porpaczy won the junior girls high jump with a mark of 1.7 m – a finish made more impressive considering the event book-ended the 4×400-m relay.

“She did the first round of the high jump, then went off and won the relay, and then came back, calmed down from that, and finished the high jump,” said Yewchuk. “It was pretty impressive – those two events are not exactly complementary.

Williams, meanwhile, was first in the 400-m and fourth in the 800-m, and Hack scooped a bronze medal in the triple jump and was sixth in the 400-m. Ribeiro had a top-10 finish in the 1,500-m steeplechase, to go with a fifth-place showing in the pentathlon, which was held in late May, along with other combined events.

Other Semiahmoo juniors with strong showings included Connor Sinclair, who won gold – and set a new record – in the junior boys shotput, and also placed third in the discus. Dawson Ribeiro had a pair of fourth-place finishes, in the 3,000-m and the 1,500-m steeplechase.

The Totems weren’t the only school with a strong showing at the junior level. Earl Marriott finished fourth overall, led by the junior girls in third. Cloverdale teams also rounded out the top schools in the junior girls team rankings – Clayton Heights was fourth, Lord Tweedsmuir was fifth and Sullivan Heights was sixth.

In the 1,500-m junior girls steeplechase, Marriott’s Georgia Ginther won gold, and EMS teammate Jaxon Mackie was third in the boys steeplechase race.

Jordan Hall and Tweedsmuir’s Amanda Moore finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 100-m dash,Marriott also placed second, behind Semi, in the junior girls 4×100 relay.

Elgin Park’s Danielle Steer finished with a bronze medal in the girls 800-m.

At the senior level, Earl Marriott’s Matthew McLean won a silver medal in the boys 100-m dash – just one-tenth of a second off the gold-medal pace, and teammate Sterling Ginther won bronze in the boys 2,000-m steeplechase.

Elgin Park’s Joel Della Siega won his school’s only gold medal, winning the senior boys high jump competition.

Semiahmoo’s Chelsea Ribeiro placed second in the senior girls 1,500-m steeplechase, and Julia Greer finished sixth in the 800-m.

In the senior boys 1,500-m race-walk, White Rock Christian Academy’s Riley Becker was fourth, while another fourth-place finish was scored by Marriott’s Chloe Alkema, in the senior girls pole vault.

Tweedsmuir’s Ben Ingvaldson also had a strong weekend, wining the senior boys shotput, and also placing second in the hammer throw.

For more on the provincials – including results from the Grade 8 events – visit

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