Tyrell Mara throws the discus during a training session. The South Surrey native finished third at nationals last weekend in Ottawa. (Mark Halliday/Moonrider Productions photo)

South Surrey trio win medals at Canadian Track and Field Championships

Porpaczy, Della Siega, Mara all return home from Ottawa with medals

A trio of Semiahmoo Peninsula athletes found themselves on the podium at Canadian Track and Field Championships last week in Ottawa.

At the under-20 level, South Surrey’s Alexa Porpaczy – a multiple gold-medal winner at high-school provincials – won gold in women’s high jump for the second consecutive year, clearing the bar at 1.77 metres.

Porpaczy will now take aim at a podium finish at Youth Commonwealth Games, set for the Bahamas later this month.

Porpaczy’s performance wasn’t the only high-jump medal to make its way back home in the luggage of a South Surrey athlete, as UBC’s Joel Della Siega – a graduate of Elgin Park Secondary – won bronze in the men’s under-20 division.

Della Siega, an Ocean Athletics Track Club member who won the national U20 title outright in 2016, actually finished in a four-way tie for first place Saturday, but ended up being slotted into third spot due to tiebreaker criteria.

Another Surrey athlete, Queen Elizabeth Secondary’s Jasneet Nijjar, narrowly missed a podium spot in the under-20 women’s 200-m. The B.C. high school champ – one of the youngest competitors in the field, considering she just finished Grade 10 – clocked a time of 23.83 seconds, which was just one one-hundredth of a second back of the bronze-medal runner.

At the senior level, former White Rock Christian Academy basketball star and discus thrower Tyrell Mara – who played four years of NCAA basketball at Portland State University – took further steps to his ultimate goal of making the Canadian Olympic team for 2020 after a third-place finish in senior men’s discus.

His basketball career now over, Mara, who now lives in Langley, returned to track-and-field in 2015 with an eye towards qualifying for the national Olympic team.

In Ottawa, Mara – who in a blog post Monday referred to himself in jest as a “random thrower no one had ever seen” – reached a new personal best on his first throw of the day at 53.10 m.

“As I let the first throw go, I knew it was a good one,” he wrote.

It was only the second time he’d ever thrown further than 52 metres, he continued.

One other Semiahmoo Peninsula athlete, Simon Fraser University’s Valda Kabia, competed in the senior competition at nationals. The sprinter – who like Della Siega is a member of Ocean Athletics – finished 15th in women’s 100-m prelims, and 18th in the 200-m.

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Jasneet Nijjar on the podium at BC High School Championships earlier this year. The Queen Elizabeth Secondary student narrowly missed a bronze-medal at nationals last week. (BC High School Track and Field Commission photo)

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