Juniors Emmy Caruso and Isaiah Collins qualified in three of their individual events. Caruso will compete in the 100-m dash, 80-m and 300-m hurdles. Collins qualified in the discus, triple jump and 400-m race. He will also compete in combined events championship (shot put, hurdles, long jump, high jump and 1,000-m).
Alex Neenan is a senior and she is competing 400-metre and her brother Luke Neenan qualified in the junior boys long jump. The junior boys 4×100-m relay team of Collins, Neenan, Keiran Simpson and Duncan Robinson will also go to provincials. The Lakers sent 10 to the Okanagan Valley championship in Kamloops on May 18.
“This group worked really hard at practices and were always willing to help each other out. We have a number of athletes who are very good at their particular event,” said Lakers coach Kelly Caruso. “These kids stepped forward and took the initiative to help coach their peers in those particular events. At Valleys, the students were right there cheering each other on and encouraging each other. I was very impressed with this group of athletes.”
Provincials are in Langley, June 1 to 3 and the athletes will practice twice a week. Caruso’s focus is on maintaining conditioning and little things that will help the athletes shed off a little more time.
“I have never been to track and field provincials in B.C. but I can imagine that mental preparation will be important, showing up at the meet and not getting overwhelmed by all of the activity,” said Caruso.
Caruso was pleased with the growth of the team from four athletes last season to 15 this year. Combining with the Skaha Lake Middle School Sharks, that number increases to 24. Caruso said a number of athletes had been doing track and field for the first time so she was glad to be able to offer this to them.
“I hope that this will be the beginning of a comeback of track and field for Penticton Secondary,” said Caruso. “The camaraderie of this specific team was enjoyable. They cheered each other on and celebrated in each other’s victories. Athletically, it is a great accomplishment that we have six athletes that have qualified for provincials. I hope that will inspire more students to come out next season.”