A group of 20 athletes from Brooks Secondary School’s track and field team made a big impact at the BC High School Track and Field Championships in Kelowna from May 30 to June 1. The team is coached by Scott Glaspey, Connie Polman Tuin, Dean Thorsell and Graham Cocksedge.
The event is the largest track meet in Canada, according to Glaspey. More than 2,400 of the top athletes in the province competed at the meet.
“It’s fierce competition, and getting stronger every year,” said Glaspey. “Even coming close to making finals is a real achievement.”
The small, local contingent, comprising less than one per cent of the overall competitors, made its presence known.
“They performed and did us proud,” said Polman Tuin. “Overall of the whole meet, there were 330 schools that participated and we were ninth.”
Brooks grade 11 and 12 athletes finished second among approximately 100 schools in the AA senior division.
“We honestly didn’t know we were second until the end of the third day,” added Polman Tuin. “In the girl’s division we were fourth in the AA and third overall in the boy’s AA division, then as a team we were second overall. We couldn’t ask for anything more than that. Except for next year; we might be more strategic.”
The team brought home five medals with 10 athletes making it to the finals in their competitions. Samantha Baron won gold in the senior women’s 400-metre hurdles in a personal best; she took almost three seconds off her previous time.
“The silver medallist ran a really nice time but was left in the dust when Sam found another gear at hurdle eight,” said Glaspey.
Baron also won bronze in the senior women’s 100-metre hurdles.
Drew Sundberg brought home the silver medal in the men’s triple jump and set a personal best in long jump of 6.40 metres, just missing the finals.
Sylena Klassen won silver in grade eight girls’ triple jump and was a bronze medallist in high jump. Both events were personal bests.
Overall the team competed in 42 events and came home with 17 personal bests, and just missed the podium in three other events. First year senior Keagan Abbott achieved a personal best in senior hammer and fourth place in shot put with a personal best of 12.68.
Cole Baron placed sixth in junior long jump and set a personal best in the triple jump; Karlyle Cline had new personal bests in grade eight 400- and 800-metre races; Haedyn Drosdovech achieved a personal best in junior long jump, finishing fifth, set a personal best in the 100 metres and placed seventh in triple jump.
Chris Fisher had a great fourth place in senior 2,000-metre steeplechase, which Glaspey described as “a scary strong event.” The longtime team member and popular choice as team captain is off to pursue a soccer career after high school.
Ian Hoff, the newest team member, had a personal best in junior 100-metre hurdles, which he ran without spikes. He was not outclassed in only his third-ever hurdles race, said Glaspey.
Scott Mackenzie achieved a personal best in senior discus, a new event for the first-year senior; Kayden Piniewski had personal bests in junior triple jump and 300-metre hurdles, and a new season best in 80-metre hurdles; Brooklyn Vanderkemp had a personal best in junior 300-metre hurdles, just missing finals and also set a new season best in 80-metre hurdles.
Also representing Powell River at the provincials were Camryn Cline, Tate Van Hees, Jerome Jessop, Teela Trottier, Will Rice, Stan Vishek, Russell Bruckshaw and Alison Ruegg.
“You couldn't have asked for a better group,” said Polman Tuin. “They took it seriously and supported each other. There were a lot of highs and people did their absolute best.”
With the school season over, Brooks track club will train and compete for six more weeks. Several athletes will participate in club meets from Monday, June 10 until mid-July, said Glaspey. The club starts the 2020 season in mid-September while the school season officially begins in early February 2020. Plans are already being made to improve next season’s results.
“If we can somehow recruit more athletes and field some relay teams we could be scary good next year,” he added.
After the event, the coaching staff thanked the school and parents for their support and put the call out for a team manager for next year. The job description is for someone who can help with equipment setup and timing; students are welcome.
“No experience needed,” said Glaspey, “just enthusiasm.”