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Sydenham wins county track and field championship; Embury, Wolfgram, Zohorsky, Jaros and Leblanc each win three events

May 16, 2013

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

On a sunny day Thursday, windy conditions dimmed the prospect of record-breaking performances on the track.

Rather than prevent new records, however, the conditions only served to make the ones that happened on the final day of the annual Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association track and field championships at Caraco Field that much more remarkable.

Five records were broken and two others fell in field events at a meet where Sydenham won both the boys and girls team championships and the overall team title.

Among the athletes leading Sydenham to that victory, Wade Embury tasted both the thrill of a spectacular individual performance and the crushing disappointment of a disqualification.

He broke the 20-year-old record of Frontenac’s Micah McGowan in senior boys 400 metres, taking three-tenths of a second off the former standard to leave it at 49.1 seconds.

Later that afternoon, he was a member of the Sydenham senior boys 400-metre relay team that appeared to have won its race before it was disqualified for an improper pass of the baton.

Embury didn’t envision a record-breaking performance, given, as he said, he hadn’t been “running so well all season.”

“My first three (400-metre races) didn’t go so well,” said Embury, the OFSAA bronze medalist last year. “They just felt really laboured the last 200 metres, but today I felt really good, even with the wind, coming around the corner. I felt like I’ve got my kick back.

“This is the fastest I’ve ever been at this point in the season. I’m happy with that.”

Embury said a stiff wind that buffeted runners as they came around the third turn didn’t bother him.

“Every track meet so far this year has been windy,” he said. “It sucks but I can deal with it. I’m not going to let it hinder my mental preparation. It was there, but it wasn’t really an issue for me.”

Despite the athlete’s disclaimer, Sydenham coach Leslie Lawlor said Embury surely felt the wind.

“He found it very challenging,” she said, “so the fact that he ran that well and that fast with that wind … it shows his strength. He’s so efficient (as a runner) but he does have good strength and endurance, too.”

Embury said being disqualified in the 400-metre relay, several minutes after the race — after the team members had received their medals, no less — was disappointing, but not as disappointing as if it had happened in the 1,600-metre relay, as it did last year in the heats at the provincial championship.

“It’s looking like we’re going to be good again this year,” Embury said. “We really want it because after getting DQ’d at OFSAA, we’re really motivated to perform our very best.”

Embury wasn’t the only runner to defy a breeze so strong that, at one point in junior girls high jump, a competitor had to wait make for officials to replace the bar 10 times after the wind blew it off the standards just to make a single jump.

Records fell in two divisions of the 800 metres, where athletes had to turn in to the driving wind twice.

Nicole Armstrong of Sydenham won the senior girls race in 2 minutes 18.3 seconds, taking three-tenths of a second off the record set in 1995 by Alison Forest of Frontenac.

La Salle’s Heather Jaros snatched the modern junior girls record from her sister, Rebecca, improving the three-year-old former mark by almost six seconds, to 2 minutes 18.4 seconds.

In midget girls 1,500 metres, Branna MacDougall of Regiopolis Notre Dame won in 4 minutes 52.3 seconds, more than nine seconds better than the former modern record of 5:01.6 set in 2008 by Frontenac’s Cleo Boyd.

Among other runners who enjoyed success despite the wind, Regi’s Kevin Bates claimed victory in senior boys 1,500 metres.

“I could feel it the whole way,” he said. “It wasn’t too bad because it was mostly diagonal but on the turn it was really bad.”

Twentieth at OFSAA last year as a junior over 3,000 metres, Bates won Thursday’s race by catching Sydenham’s Nick Belore on the final straightaway.

“I kept a good pace the whole race and started passing people at the end,” he said. “I was hoping to win and I knew I could sprint fast. Maybe 200 metres from the end (I thought I could catch him).”

The wind was not a factor in Isabelle Froom’s first win Thursday, in senior girls 100 metres, but it made her 200 metres races interesting, she said.

“It didn’t really affect me but you feel it,” she said. “Coming around the corner you feel it a lot.”

As a first-year senior, the Grade 11 Loyalist Collegiate student said her goals competing against older opponents was to finish in the top four and move on to EOSSA. She was delighted to have held her own in a field that included second-year senior Abbi Finnan of Regi.

“I was happy with the fact I could keep up with her,” Froom said.

Other meet records were established on the track, by Sydenham’s Shirley Hughes, 17.0 seconds in the ambulatory girls 100 metres, and in two field events.

With a best attempt of 27.40 metres, Regi’s Hailey Wolfgram broke a modern midget girls shot put record set by Frontenac’s Ashley Widmont in 2007 by five centimetres. One of five athletes in the meet to win three events, Wolfgram also finished first in discus and javelin on the first day of the meet Wednesday at Richardson Stadium.

Also Wednesday, Sam Mace of Loyalist and Frontenac’s Tanner Armstrong both broke the 2010 modern record of Napanee’s Mike Holden in midget boys discus, 38.10 metres, with Mace ultimately prevailing at 40.25 metres, and Armstrong finishing second at 39.39 metres.

Mace started throwing in England, where he was 12th in the national championship when he was in Grade 6. “That’s where I got my love for discus,” he said. He came to Canada almost three years ago, when his father was posted here by the British Army.

A provincial team judo competitor, Mace said he began practising seriously for the disc about a month ago, throwing between 32 and 34 metres. He said the record-setting throw, which came on his second attempt, “didn’t feel great.”

“It wasn’t an amazing throw,” he said. “Well, it didn’t feel like an amazing throw, but it was in the end.

“It must have been a good technical throw; I didn’t put a lot of strength into it.”

Mace hopes he can parlay his early season success into a berth in the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championship next month.

“I’ve heard that’s a big thing to do.”

Besides Wolfgram, Jaros (800, 1,500 and 3,000 metres) and Embury (100, 200 and 400 metres) were three-event winners Thursday, as were Bayridge midget Nicole Zohorsky (100 metres, 80-metre hurdles and 300-metre hurdles) and Holy Cross midget Devin Leblanc (100, 200 and 400 metres).

In addition to Froom, MacDougall and nine other athletes each won two individual events: Sophia Skorenky of Marie-Rivier, Shayla Moore of Holy Cross and Leah Hill of Napanee in junior girls competition, seniors Nicole Armstrong of Sydenham and Kenya Costa-Dookhan of Holy Cross, Kingston midget Cameron Linscott and junior boys Ben Workman of KC, Brodie Latimer of Sydenham and Brayden Raymond of Holy Cross.

The top four competitors in each event earned the right to advance to the Eastern Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association championships, beginning Thursday in Brockville.

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One Comment
  1. glibert permalink

    Very good coverage of the track meet including all the schools and athletes! Thanks

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