Semiahmoo’s Jack Williams did just as his coach predicted he would Friday at B.C. High School Track and Field Championships, and that was win the boys 3,000-m race.
But he did his coach, Maureen de St. Croix, one better the following day, when he was the only South Surrey runner to find the podium in the star-studded 1,500-m race; he finished in second in a time of 3:53.08, just three seconds back of Fleetwood Park’s Keffri Neal.
“I’m really happy, it went really well,” said Williams.
In the 3,000, Williams said the pace was fast but manageable in the early stages, and he made his move to the lead pack at the same time as second-place finisher, St. Andrew’s Cody Therrien.
“About 800 in, Cody moved up and I had to go with him, and then he started to slow down a bit near the end, and I was able to pass him.”
The 1,500-m, however, was an entirely different affair – with much more back and forth than the longer three-km race.
After the grueling 3,000-m and 1,500 heats on Friday, Williams said he was nearly gassed for Saturday’s 1,500 finals, and on the last lap, actually considered dropping out of the race.
“I didn’t know what the other guys had planned, but I just knew that I had really sore legs,” he said.
On the final lap, Williams was in second place, six or seven metres behind Neal, when White Rock Christian’s Sean Keane – ranked second in Canada in the 1,500 and the defending B.C. high school champ – and Therrien caught and passed him.
“I didn’t know how long I was going to be able to keep up with Keffri, and when Sean and Cody passed me, I thought about maybe quitting, but then I saw my parents on the back stretch, and they were cheering for me, and I knew I had to keep going,” Williams said.
He passed Keane, who finished fourth, and Therrien, who won bronze, with 200 metres to go.
“I just left it all out there on the track,” Williams said.
Though Keane finished off the podium in the 1,500, he did pick up silver in the 800-m, finishing behind Neal, whose double-gold performance earned him the meet’s Most Inspirational Athlete Award.
Deon Clifford, from Earl Marriott, was fourth in the 3,000-m and sixth in the 1,500, giving Surrey schools four of the six top finishes in the latter event. All six runners had times under four minutes in the 1,500, which made it one of the fastest races in recent memory.
“That had to have been the fastest 1,500 in, well, maybe forever,” said Elgin Park’s Jake Bruchet, who didn’t run the 1,500 but won silver in the senior boys 2,000-m steeplechase and was ninth in the 3,000. “The guys were just great, so fast.”
For his part, Bruchet – one of the top contenders in the 3,000-m heading into the race – said he was disappointed with his silver-medal steeple performance.
“It just did not go very well at all, to be honest,” said Bruchet, whose time of 6:10.37 was four seconds back of Oak Bay’s Patrick Psotka.
“It’s not so much the (colour of) medal, but it’s the time – I know I’m better than that, and can go at least 10 seconds faster.”
Bruchet said his busy schedule – Elgin grads had commencement ceremonies Thursday night, and prom Saturday evening – didn’t help keep his legs in peak shape.
“On Thursday, we were sitting for four hours and standing for two hours before that, so it didn’t help a whole lot,” he said.
Earl Marriott’s Katie Reid – who’ll run next year at UCLA – ended her high-school running career on a high note, with gold medals in both the 200- and 400-m races.
Her two wins helped propel EMS to a fourth-place overall team finish, and fourth-best mark in the girls team scores. Victoria’s Oak Bay won the overall meet title.
In field events, the Peninsula contingent was led by a pair of Elgin Park throwers. Ryan Sommer won a pair of medals – silver in the discus and bronze in shotput. Sommer was up against some pretty stiff competition at the Swangard Stadium meet – Lambrick Park (Victoria) thrower Adam Keenan won gold in shotput, hammer throw and discus, setting a B.C. record in the latter.
His EPS teammate, Christina Juert, won bronze in discus and hammer throw.
Other South Surrey medallists included Semiahmoo’s Vanessa Sjoberg, who was third in the 400-m; Semi’s Alison Williams, second in the 800-m; Earl Marriott’s Kathryn Van Ryswyk, who won silver in the pole vault; Lord Tweedsmuir’s Hayley Stewart, bronze-medallist in the long jump;
Finishing just off the podium was WRCA’s Brittney Hearn, who was fourth in heptathlon, and WRCA’s Jordon Watson, fourth in high jump.
On the relay circuit, Earl Marriott’s boys ‘A’ team – Deon Clifford, Chase Lawler, Nick Mateo, and Stuart McDonald – was fifth in the 4×400-m, and Semiahmoo’s girls team – Anestasja Koch, Emma Scott, Sjoberg and Williams – were fifth in both the 4×100 and 4×400 events.