Nicole Mann, Hunter Dufty, Haven Dufty and Lucas Hooper are entering unchartered territory.
The members of the Penticton Athletic Club will be facing the best Canada has to offer in the national youth track and field championships held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island beginning Friday and ending Sunday.
“The competitions are going to be the toughest they have ever faced,” said coach Gustav Allander, who was unable to make the trip. “The difference between this and the provincials is there are entry standards that you have to meet even to be able to compete.”
Allander said a top eight finish is the goal for the girls. Hunter, 13, will be competing against girls a year or two older.
“For her it’s more to get the experience of being at a championship meet,” said Allander. “For the future it’s going to be a huge benefit.”
With her events (shot put) on Friday, Hunter was enjoying the beauty that is P.E.I. as they arrived a few days early. However, she hasn’t lost sight of wanting to improve her results.
“I want to get a personal best,” said Hunter from Charlottetown. “If I medal that would be brilliant. It would be awesome for me to throw over 10.20 metres.”
Surpassing their top results is another goal.
Haven, who represented the Thompson-Okanagan zone during the B.C. Summer Games, is nervous to compete against other Canadians, but has a good feeling about what she can accomplish in the 80 metre hurdles and triple jump.
“I would be happy just gaining experience and friends from this,” she said, adding that having her teammates around will help. “I will have somebody to cheer me on as well as to cheer on too. Not just to be here by myself and be nervous about it.”
Never needing much for motivation, Haven is determined to set new marks.
Mann doesn’t feel any pressure as she strives to reach new heights in the 300 and 800-m relay.
“Medalling isn’t really important to me right now,” said Mann, 14, who represented the Thompson-Okanagan zone during the B.C. Summer Games.
Hooper will be in the 200 and 400-m relay. Allander said that Hooper is new to the sport and will gain valuable experience. The four qualified by attaining entry standards during sanctioned events for B.C. Athletics, which are reported to Athletics Canada.
“(The championship) will motivate them to work really hard in the future,” said Allander. “I think now they have the belief that we can compete at the national level and go further than that.”