Jake Hanna left Saturday to compete at World Youth Track and Field Championship.

Ocean Athletics’ pair set for World Youth Track and Field Championships

South Surrey runners Jake Hanna and Chelsea Ribiero left last weekend for Ukraine

It’s been a busy summer so far for members of Ocean Athletics track and field club, and for some, it shows no signs of slowing down.

On the weekend, a pair of Ocean Athletics athletes – Jake Hanna and Chelsea Ribiero – left for Ukraine, where they’ll compete at the World Youth Track and Field Championships from July 8-12.

In his age group, Hanna  is ranked second in Canada in the 400-m and third in the 400-m hurdles, while Ribiero is ranked No. 1 in the 2,000-m steeplechase.

Going up against such stiff competition, Ocean Athletics head coach Maureen de St. Croix – who describes the event as “the Olympics for 16 and 17 year olds,” – was unsure how the pair would do, but was optimistic they’d perform well.

“It’s tough to (predict) what will happen, because they’re young people, and you don’t know where they stand in the world rankings or anything like that,” she explained. “But I do know that they’re both great competitors, and it’s going to be a great, great event for them.”

Hanna and Ribiero are the second and third Ocean Athletics athletes to compete at the World Youth Championships – Deon Clifford is the other, having placed seventh in the steeplechase in 2011.

Elsewhere in the club, Kathryn van Ryswyk – fresh off a pole-vault gold medal at the BC High School Track and Field Championships last month – was selected recently to compete with Team BC at both the Canadian Junior Track and Field Championships (Sainte Therese, Que., July 12-14) and the Canada Games (Sherbrooke, Que., Aug. 2-17).

Van Ryswyk, an Earl Marriott Secondary grad, is the province’s top-ranked pole vaulter for her age.

She won’t be headed to the Canadian junior meet, alone, either, as she’ll be joined in Quebec by runners Clifford and Peggy Noel.

Clifford will compete in the 5,000-m and the 3,000-m steeplechase, while Noel will run the 1,500-m.

Closer to home, the club hosted the B.C. Junior Development Pentathlon June 22 at South Surrey Athletic Park.

At the event – in which athletes competed in high jump, 60-m hurdles, shotput, long jump and a 600-m run – Ocean Atheletics’ Niki Duchesne was among the winners.

The South Surrey athlete won gold in the 11-year-old girls pentathlon, with a total of 2,174 points – 94 points higher than second-place finisher Marin Lenz of Chilliwack.

Duchesne – who has only been competing in track and field for two years – won the shotput, with a throw of 9.11-m, and hurdles, and was 10th in the high jump, and third in both the 600-m and the long jump.

Last weekend, she was at Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium, competing in the Trevor Craven Memorial Meet, and this weekend will be in Nanaimo for Junior Development Provincial Championships.

Other locals to make it to the podium include Nicholas Pavlovic, 9, who finished second overall in his age division –  along the way, winning the long jump, and taking silver in the hurdles and bronze in the high jump and 600-m.

In the 11-year-old boys competition, Ocean Athletics’ Christopher Gan and Brendan Luccock placed second and third overall, respectively, while Evan Ellison won bronze in the 12-year-old boys pentathlon.

In the 14-year-old boys division, Dominic Luccock was second overall, while teammate Connor Sinclair was third and Joel Della Siega was second among three competitors in the boys 15-year-old category.

The one-day event was capped by a men’s 1,500-m run, which was won by Ocean Athletics’ Clifford, who clocked a time of three minutes, 55.98 seconds, which was 1.08 seconds quicker than Nathan Wadhwani of the Golden Ears Track Club.

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