Penticton Athletics Club members have their sights set on high level competitions.
Coach Gustav Allander said the main goal for the older athletes is the B.C. High School provincial championship at the end of the month in Langley. Nationals are also in Langley.
“It’s a huge opportunity for kids to compete in nationals,” said Allander. “An opportunity that might not be there unless they made Team B.C.”
Allander said that sisters Hunter and Haven Dufty, along with Nicole Mann, are all looking to qualify for nationals. The trio went to P.E.I. for the event last year. Lucas Hooper is looking to accomplish that also.
The goal Allander said is to improve on last year placings. He also wants to see consistent hard work and practice.
Mann has focused her season on training for the 400 and 800-metre run. She said it’s hard training just because of the long distance sprints.
“It doesn’t feel good. I would prefer the 100-m,” she said. “It’s much easier training.”
The first competition for her season was the Kamloops Centennials during the Victoria Day long weekend. She is focused on completing her event in under two minutes, 30 seconds. Results weren’t available at press time.
“I know personal best (2:24) is probably out of reach,” she said. “It’s too early to top that.”
She will also compete in the Jack Brow in Kelowna then youth provincials in Coquitlam. Mann said competing in P.E.I gave her an idea of what the competition in Canada is like.
“The speed is incredible,” said Mann, who uses track as cross training for soccer. “You want to be as good as the best in Canada.”
Allander said a lot of the younger athletes have yet to compete, but senior high school members had been to meets.
Hunter Dufty, Grade 8, and Haven Dufty Grade 9, have competed against older athletes and are “doing extremely well.” He anticipates them qualifying for B.C. High Schools in the senior category. The same for Hooper.
Both Dufty sisters along with Maya Venkataraman and Megan Avery, competed in the third annual Province Gran Forza V presented by TELUS in Richmond on April 6. They set a meet record with 3,716 points according to Gran Forza website. Their efforts also won money for Summerland Secondary School.
In other club news, a recent coaching clinic saw eight people receive their level one certificate. Allander said he hopes this leads to them being able to grow the club. So far, he has carried the load.
“It’s a lot of work trying to juggle all the different events, make sure they get the exposure at every event,” he said. “New coaches can join whenever they want.”
The club is also always accepting new members. For information, check www.penathletics.com.