Track championship challenges athletes

Penticton Athletic Club members perform well during track championship

NICOLE MANN didn’t perform as she hoped during the 2012 Legion Canadian Youth Track and Field Championship

NICOLE MANN didn’t perform as she hoped during the 2012 Legion Canadian Youth Track and Field Championship

Performances by members of the Penticton Athletics Club met and exceeded expectations of the club president during the 2012 Legion Canadian Youth Track and Field Championships.

Hunter Dufty, Haven Dufty, Nicole Mann and Lucas Hooper were all in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island competing from Aug. 17 to 19.

Hunter Dufty, 12, placed 12th among 18 competitors in the shot put. Blair Dufty, the club’s president, said his daughter performed “great” considering she was up against 14 and 15-year-olds.

“For her it was intimidating to start with, she seemed a little nervous,” he said, as Hunter’s best throw was 9.64 metres. “It wasn’t a personal best by any means. She wasn’t far off of qualifying for top eight.”

That was the goal for her sister Haven and Nicole Mann. Hooper went for experience. Haven placed eighth in the triple jump as she set a personal best by 13 centimetres with a length of 10.51 m. She also placed 14th in the 80-m hurdle. However Blair said it doesn’t reflect her performance.

“She hit a hurdle coming in,” said Blair. “Battling for first or second then hit a hurdle. It was a great race to watch.”

Mann placed 21st among 39 athletes in the 800-m dash clocking in at 2:34.91, and 21 of 30 in the 300-m distance, finishing in 44.69 seconds. Mann, in her final event at the midget level (14- and 15-year-olds) was disappointed by her result as she said it just wasn’t her weekend.

“I really wanted to complete my season with personal bests,” she said.

That didn’t stop her from enjoying the experience as she said the level of competition “was awesome.”

“New Legion records were broken this year,” said Mann. “You know that it was a very high level of competition. Everything at that track meet was so much more official and a higher level than what I have been to.”

What she learned from the experience is that she can compete with top Canadians.

“When you go to a high level competition, you should take the energy from it and put it into your races,” said Mann.

Haven said things went fantastic with her event and she felt she competed well against the other athletes.

“I feel more confident that I can do better and train harder. That I can compete with the best in the country,” said Haven.

Being the youngest in her field, Hunter, 12, was very happy with her performance despite not setting a personal best.

“I did great,” she said. “I know I can compete against the top in the country.”

Hunter admitted to feeling nervous before but gained confidence knowing she can compete against older athletes.

Hooper competed in the 200 and 400-m runs and placed 27 and 19 among fields of 33 and 32, respectively.

What also impressed Blair about the four were their attitudes.

“They acted like true athletes,” he said.