Ocean Athletics had two new national champions among its members.
At the Canadian Youth Legion Track and Field Championships – held last weekend at Langley’s McLeod Park – both Jake Hanna and Ben Ingvaldson set personal bests en route to gold-medal performances.
On the second day of the three-day competition, Hanna, a 16-year-old Elgin Park Secondary student, took top spot in the youth boys 400-m, clocking a time of 48.74 seconds.
It was the first time Hanna – who was one of three Ocean Athletics athletes to represent Team BC – had run the event in under 49 seconds.
“That was a pretty great moment for me. It’s what I had been working so hard for all summer, to get under 49,” he said.
Hanna was the second-ranked runner heading into the event – behind Ontario’s Cameron Nurse – but the South Surrey runner, knowing he’d be running against the wind, paced himself until the end, when he made a final kick.
“I knew there was going to be a pretty strong headwind – there usually is in Langley – so I saved a bit for the end and made a late push,” Hanna explained.
Hanna won by a few metres, with London, Ont. runner Davis Edward finishing second, in 49.27 seconds, and Nurse third, in 49.28.
Ocean Athletics head coach Maureen de St. Croix was thrilled to see Hanna clock a sub-49-second run, adding that it “puts him in a pretty rare group” of runners his age.
“It’s been just a tremendous season for him,” said de St. Croix. “And he’s just such a wonderful kid. No matter what he does, he’s always just the same old Jake – except that just keeps running faster and faster.”
Ingvaldson, a student at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary who, like Hanna, competed for Team BC, also had a stellar weekend in Langley, winning three medals – including one gold.
Ingvaldson struck gold in the shotput, capturing a Canadian youth title with a personal-best throw of 16.15 m.
His mark beat second-place thrower Noah Rolph of Ontario by 0.55 m.
Ingvaldson also found himself on the podium in the Legion’s other two throwing events, winning bronze in both the discus – with a toss of 49.99 m – and the hammer throw, in which his best toss travelled 53.55 m.
At the club level, Ocean Athletics’ midget-aged relay teams also fared well.
Ocean Athletics’ boys team – Michael Aono, Dominic Luccock, Bryan Niwinski and Dawson Ribiero – won gold in the medley relay. The club’s girls team – which included Jessica Williams, Kira Pederson, Elise Burgert and Danielle Steer – also won the medley relay. The medley relay consists of runs of different lengths – it begins with a 400-m leg, followed by back-to-back 200-m lengths before wrapping up with an 800-m portion.
“It was just an excellent meet for everyone,” said de St. Croix.
“The Legions will be back in Langley next year, so whether our athletes won medals or not, it’s a great experience and they’ll be even more prepared for next year.”