South Surrey high schoolers ran, jumped and threw their way to a handful of medals at South Fraser Track and Field Championships this week, and will now aim to carry that momentum forward into provincials next week.
The regional meet – which was held Wednesday and Thursday at the newly renovated and only recently reopened track at South Surrey Athletic Park – saw south-end schools rank very highly overall, led by one of the smallest in the competition, White Rock Christian Academy.
As a team, WRCA finished second overall in both overall boys and overall girls standings, with the boys second only to Surrey’s Pacific Academy, and the girls behind only Holy Cross Regional High School – a team that counts a handful of Semiahmoo Peninsula residents among its athletes. The pair of second-place team finishes was enough to secure the overall title for WRCA, albeit it by the narrowest of margins. In the end, WRCA had 380 overall points, compared to the 375 achieved by second-place Holy Cross.
In early May, WRCA finished as the top school at the Surrey championships.
While noting that their margin of victory this week was even slimmer than it was at Surrey championships when they won by seven points, WRCA coach Davey Gin told Peace Arch News Friday that this week’s victory was in large part due to “two of our key athletes” – Reuben Isac and Will Zhang – picking up points in their final events of the meet, despite the fact they were hurting and exhausted, and could have easily pulled out.
“(They) pushed on in their events to get the crucial final points we needed to win,” said Gin.
Individually, two of the standout performers were Elgin Park Secondary’s Kerlinda Chatwin and Holy Cross Regional School’s Cora Clendenin, who is a South Surrey resident. Both athletes won aggregate medals for placing first in all of their respective events. Chatwin won the senior girls 100- and 400-m, as well as triple jump, while Clendenin took top spot in Grade 8 girls 80- and 200-m hurdles, as well as 400-m.
Others to land on the podium at South Frasers were: Saint John Paul II Academy’s Maya Bernette, first in the Grade 8 girls 100-m and second in the 200-m; Southridge School’s Ava Eichhorst, who was second in junior girls 80-m hurdles and third in junior girls 100-m – five seconds ahead of Elgin Park’s Amrita Sidhu, who placed fourth in that event but won gold in 80-m hurdles; Abeti Gutsche, Saint John Paul II Academy, won silver in Special Olympics 100- and 400-m; Saint John Paul II’s Mia Beliveau, third in Grade 8 girls 200-m; WRCA’s Vanessa Pinto won silver in junior girls 300-m hurdles and bronze in the 400-m; WRCA’s Alecia Palmer, second in Grade 8 girls 800-m; and Elgin Park’s Maella Hodgson who was first in junior girls 800- and 3,000-m, winning the latter event in a rout – her time of 10 minutes, 6.19 seconds was one minute, 17 seconds faster than silver medallist Lucie King from Saint John Paul II.
In addition to her silver in the 3,000-m, King also won gold in the 1,500-m, while Southridge runner Catelin McDonald was third. Another Southridge runner, Meghan McDonald, earned a bronze in the Grade 8 girls 3,000-m, while other medals went to Semiahmoo’s Mackenzie Hack, gold in senior girls 1,500-m steeplechase and silver in the 3,000-m; WRCA’s Lauren Nusteader and Gemma Jakola, second and third respectively in the Grade 8 girls 80-m hurdles, while Jakola was also third in 200-m hurdles; WRCA’s Poppy Melenger, third in junior girls 300-m hurdles; Rachel McDonald, from Southridge, won silver in the junior girls 1,500-m steeplechase; and WRCA’s Rachel Fang, third in junior girls 1,500-m racewalk; and WRCA’s Emma Fang, second in senior girls 1,500-m racewalk.
In boys track events, Earl Marriott’s Connor Fong was second in Grade 8 boys 200-m and third in the 100-m while his EMS teammate Jeremy Dela Pena was third in junior boys 400-m and Hudson Irvine and Colton Plummer were first and third, respectively, in the senior boys 400-m, while Irvine was also first in the 800-m; Elgin Park’s Kaelem Dumont was third in the same 800-m race. In the junior boys 800-m, Elgin Park’s Connor Nicol was second and Semiahmoo’s Steven Brittain was third, while Nicol also won gold in the 1,500-m and silver in the 3,000-m, while his Elgin teammate James Hodgson was third in the 1,500 and first in the 1,500-m steeplechase.
In the senior boys 1,500-m, Elgin’s Isaac Baker won gold, while Dumont was third in both that event and the 3,000-m; Baker also won gold in 2,000-m steeplechase; Grandview Heights Secondary’s Mason Kopelman was second in junior boys 100-m hurdles while WRCA’s Nate Brost was third; Semiahmoo’s Oscar Antscherl was third in Grade 8 boys 200-m hurdles; Saint John Paul II’s Matthias Dee was second in junior boys 300-m hurdles; WRCA’s Niam Zbitniff won silver in boys 400-m hurdles; WRCA’s Reuben Isak was third in junior boys 1,500-m steeplechase; Semiahmoo’s Arjun Dhatt won bronze in senior boys 2,000-m steeplechase; while a handful of racewalk medals were also handed out – to WRCA’s Joshua Gordon and Liam Mathew, first and third in junior boys 1,500-m, respectively, while Semiahmoo’s Stanford Chang was second in the senior boys 1,500.
A plethora of medals were also won in relay events – both boys and girls – while medal winners in field events included: Grandview Heights’ Griffin Smith, bronze in Grade 8 boys high jump; Marriott’s Justin Smith and Blake Simpson, second and third in junior boys high jump; WRCA’s Zbitnoff, second in senior boys high jump; Saint John Paul II’s Dee, third in junior boys long jump; WRCA’s Austin Chiu and Dylan Louw, first and third respectively in Grade 8 boys triple jump; Elgin Park’s Ben Carr, third in senior boys triple jump; WRCA’s Cody Hambrook and Eli Sauder, second and third in junior boys hammer throw; Grandview Heights’ Deven Marrero and WRCA’s Miles Melenger, silver and bronze, respectively, in senior boys hammer throw; Marrero also won gold in javelin; and Antscherl, who was second in Grade 8 boys javelin.
Top performers in girls field events were: Marriott’s Chloe Ostrosser, first in Grade 8 girls high jump; Saint John Paul II’s Samantha Wood, third in Grade 8 girls high jump; Southridge’s Eichhorst, who won gold in junior girls high jump, just ahead of Marriott’s Mia Stevens, who was second, while also picking up a bronze medal in long jump; Elgin Park’s Kate Hwang, gold in senior girls pole vault; Elgin’s Evia Chen, who won gold in Grade 8 girls long jump; Grandview’s Cheryl Chen, third in junior girls triple jump; Saint John Paul II’s Carys Prout, third in Grade 8 girls shot put; Saint John Paul’s John Diego, third in Special Olympics shot put; WRCA’s Palmer, gold in Grade 8 girls discus; and Semiahmoo’s Hack, who was third in senior girls javelin.
Athletes now prepare for B.C. High School Track and Field Championships, which are scheduled for Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park June 9-11.