Athletes make leap to valley track championships

Forty track athletes from Pen High and Summerland Secondary School looked to set new personal bests.

Haven Dufty of the Summerland Secondary School Rockets athletics squad clears the hurdle with ease during her race in the qualifying track and field South Zone Championships at Penticton Secondary School. Winners of the various events advance to the Okanagan Valley Championships. Below

Haven Dufty of the Summerland Secondary School Rockets athletics squad clears the hurdle with ease during her race in the qualifying track and field South Zone Championships at Penticton Secondary School. Winners of the various events advance to the Okanagan Valley Championships. Below

Forty track athletes from Pen High and Summerland Secondary School looked to set new personal bests.

The possible reward?  A chance to represent the south Okanagan at the valley championship.

Pen High Lakers coach Geoff Waterman was impressed with the number of participants they attracted for Tuesdays event. He also was thrilled with what he saw.

“I thought the athletes performed very well, both from our team and Summerland,” said Waterman. “It’s really nice to see a resurgence of track and field among our high schools. All the kids had a great time and performed very well.”

Qualifying for the Valley championship was Lorreine Stanley in the 100-metre and 400-m hurdles, as well as the 100-m relay and 200-m event and long jump. Tristand Stadnyk was successful in the 110-m and 400-m hurdles. Kyle Hooper in the 100-m and 200-m relay and high jump.

In the 100-m relay, Hooper said his 11.5 seconds was his best ever run.

“I’m pretty proud of myself for that,” said Hooper, who competed in the Nike High School Grand Prix in Toronto last spring. “I felt really good. The start was bang. I just feel way better sprinting then I do doing long distance.”

His goal on the day was to gain personal bests and build strong leads on his opposition.

“Maybe intimidate somebody else.”

Other Pen High qualifiers were Jake Klan in the 100-m relay and long jump. Keyland Rudolph also qualified in the 100-m and 200-m relay. Maxine Chapman succeeded in the 200-m relay, while Lucas Hooper qualified. Hooper, the brother of Kyle, also qualified for the 400-m relay. He was joined by Justin Schenk. Hannah Lalonde qualified for the 400-m relay and was joined by Holly Perrier. Lalonde also succeeded in the 800-m relay, 1,500-m distance and the race walk. Alyssa Kroeker qualified in the 800-m relay and triple jump. Rob Simmerling has advanced in the 800-m relay and 2,000-m steeple chase. Also going in the 800-m relay are John Crofts and Schenk.

In the 1,500-m relay, Lyndell Campbell and Courtney Milligan advanced. Campbell will also compete in the 3,000-m distance. Cam Lynka, Richard Xiang and Crofts are going in the 1,500-m relay. Xiang will also be in the 2,000-m steeple chase, while Lynka is in the 3,000-m relay. Kiah Wheeler made her mark in the 3,000-m relay and the race walk. She is also competing in the triple jump. Ekaterina Sergeeva of Skaha Lake Middle School is going for the high jump.

Pen High’s Logan Mend is going in the same event. He’s also competing in the javelin and discus. Phong Lee is competing in the javelin and shot-put and will be joined by Nico Carboni, who is also entering the discus.

Waterman said he wanted to see a solid effort from his group, which he did, and sportsmanship.

“I think our athletes were great at this and they also got to know other students from other schools,” said Waterman. “All in all it was a good time.”

Summerland Secondary School had 13 athletes qualify, their largest group ever. Coach Tom Brickenden said they all performed very well.

“It was also fun to go head-to-head with Pen High, who have been our healthy rivals over the years,” said Brickenden. “At meets though, we support each other and we often travel together to the provincial meet.   Pen High has a very strong team this year and our team is definately on the rise as well.”

Qualifying from Summerland are Lindsay Isaac, Shannon Clarke, Erin Detchkoff, Haven Dufty, Sacha Perry-Fagant, Megan Avery. Landon Brickenden, Cam Varchol, Sylvia Mott, Caylum Foley, Jaedyn Foley, Eric Sherban, Shane Fofonoff, Jessa Barber, Sam Kane, Shannon Thompson and Scott Richards.

Dufty defeated Sergeeva in the 100-m hurdles and said it was a challenge because of the further distance as she normally competes in the 80-m distance.

“I had a little trouble trying to keep my distance right,” said Dufty. “Stride length was longer. It was hard to step an extra half meter between each hurdle.”

Dufty said her goal was to finish without falling on her face.

“It was a good experience,” she said.

Brickenden said he wanted to see all his athletes earn personal bests. To qualify for provincials, athletes much compete in the senior level. They only have one.

“Many Grade 9s and 10s were competing against older competators,” he said. “One of our team goals for the season was for everyone to qualify for the Valley’s in at least one event and we achieved that.”

The BC High School Track and Field Championships are May 31-June 1, 2013 in Langley.