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Forty-nine local athletes earn berths at OFSAA track and field championships

June 1, 2013

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

BELLEVILLE — Josh Johnson insists he really had no idea from where the throw came that won junior boys shot put Friday.

“I felt lighter,” he said. “I felt more exhilarated to throw than ever.”

Wherever Johnson reached to find the wherewithal for his final throw was immaterial to the drama that went with it at the East region qualifying track meet, where he was one of 49 Kingston-area athletes who earned the right to advance to n next week’s provincial high school championships.

Johnson led throughout the competition. With a best attempt of 14.84 metres at the end of the first three rounds, he was 49 centimetres better than the rest of the field. That put stood up until just two other competitors were down to their last throw. With his final attempt, one of them, Denzel Guirandou of Thousand Islands in Brockville, passed Johnson by four centimetres.

“I knew I’d have to reach deep down to get the next one,” Johnson said, and he did. He launched the best throw of his young career, 15.53 metres, on the final attempt of the competition.

“It just happened,” Johnson said. “It just came to me.

“The instant you know what you have to do, (you think), ‘You’ve got to do it,’ or you’re not going to win at all.”

Johnson was one of 12 Kingston-area athletes to win an event on the final day of the two-day East regional meet, the last of the season’s three elimination meets and the place where athletes finally qualified for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championships, next week in Oshawa.

The 49 local athletes who finished among the top four in their events come from 15 different schools and they qualified in 47 individual events and three relays. Sydenham will send the largest contingent to Oshawa, 16 competitors, while Holy Cross will send eight, Regiopolis Notre Dame five and Frontenac four.

Johnson remains undefeated after three meets this year. His winning performance Friday was a personal best by almost exactly a metre.

“I was scared,” Johnson said. “It’s the first time I’ve been scared at a competition but my determination to win took me through.”

Johnson picked up the shot two years ago, when he was in Grade 8 at Mother Teresa. He didn’t throw last year, choosing instead to play rugby.

“This year I found a way to do both,” he said, explaining that he got the two coaches together and they came to an arrangement. “It was real teamwork between each coach,” Johnson said. “I had practice for track and field one day, rugby one day — a day on, a day off.”

He said he’s grateful to have had the opportunity. “I’m so happy today,” he said.

Johnson was not the only local athlete to leave the Mary-Anne Sills athletic complex with a smile. In fact, he wasn’t even the only shot-putter, as Kingston-area athletes won five of the six divisions in that discipline. In addition to Johnson, the red ribbons went to Sharbot Lake senior Johnny Vinkle, Queen Elizabeth midget Drew Marquette, Napanee junior Leah Hill and midget Hailey Wolfgram of Regiopolis Notre Dame.

Wade Embury went back to Sydenham as the most decorated local athlete. He was one of three local athletes to win two individual events — in his case, the senior boys 200 and 400 metres. He then ran the final leg on Sydenham’s winning 1,600-metre relay team.

La Salle’s Heather Jaros broke modern meet records in both junior girls 800 metres (for the third meet in a row) and 1,500 metres (for the second week in a row). She remains undefeated over both distances in junior competition this year. The only race Jaros hasn’t won this spring was a senior girls 800 she entered at a preseason invitational meet in Brockville, where she finished second.

Sydenham senior Nicole Armstrong was Kingston’s other two-event winner. After winning the senior girls 1,500 metres Thursday, the OFSAA silver medalist over 800 metres as a junior last year rebounded nicely from being beaten at EOSSA a week ago to win the 800 Friday.

Even some Kingston athletes who tasted misfortune rallied nicely to leave the meet with a consolation prize.

Nicole Zohorsky of Bayridge, who fell during her intermediate hurdles race Thursday, came back to win midget girls 80-metre hurdles Friday.

Regi’s Branna MacDougall was leading midget girls 800 metres with about 100 metres to go when she got tangled with a competitor trying to pass her. Both runners hit the track hard but as three girls raced past, MacDougall got up and gritted out the remainder of the race to claim fourth place and the final OFSAA qualifying spot.

Holy Cross junior Jonathan Besselink put the disappointment of finishing fifth by one one-hundredth of a second in the 1,500 metres Thursday behind him by qualifying for OFSAA Friday in the 800, where he finished fourth.

The other Kingston-area athletes who will go to OFSAA fresh from a win are junior Ben Workman and midget Cameron Linscott of Kingston, in their respective divisions of the 3,000 metres; MacDougall, in the 1,500 metres; David Cox of Sharbot Lake in junior boys high jump; Ben Cross of Frontenac in junior boys long jump; Jay Dearborn of Sydenham, in senior boys javelin; and Cole Norton of Prince Edward in Picton, in junior boys 100 metres.

Perhaps the most disappointing events for KASSAA were the 400-metre relay, where four senior girls from Sydenham comprised the only local team to advance, and the 100 metres. Among able-bodied athletes, only Darien Leblanc of Holy Cross, who was fourth in the senior boys final, will go to OFSAA.

Three of KASSAA’s athletes with a disability — Garrett Thompson and Shirley Hughes of Sydenham, and Danny Amaral of Regi — will contest their respective divisions of the 100 metres next week.

The three-day OFSAA meet begins Thursday.

OFSAA qualifers

BELLEVILLE — Kingston-area athletes who qualified for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations track and field championships at the East regional qualifying meet, a two-day event that concluded Friday at the Mary-Anne Sills athletic complex:

Bayridge (1)

Nicole Zohorsky, midget girls 80-metre hurdles.

Ernestown (1)

Adrienne Morgan, senior girls 3,000 metres.

Frontenac (4)

Tanner Armstrong, midget boys discus, javelin.

Ben Cross, junior boys long jump, javelin.

Hana Gazdik, junior girls shot put.

Mitch Kirby, junior boys 3,000 metres.

Holy Cross (8)

Jonathan Besselink, junior boys 800 metres.

Kenya Costa-Dookhan, senior girls long jump.

Cariston Fawcett, senior girls discus.

Jonah Johnson, junior boys shot put.

Darien Leblanc, senior boys 100 metres.

Devin Leblanc, junior boys 400 metres.

Shayla Moore, junior girls 80-metre hurdles, 300-metre hurdles

Brayden Raymond, junior boys long jump, triple jump.

Kingston (3)

Jenny Lapp, midget girls pole vault.

Cameron Linscott, midget boys 1,500 metres, 3,000 metres.

Ben Workman, junior boys 1,500 metres, 3,000 metres.

La Salle (2)

Lilie Dixon, junior girls high jump.

Heather Jaros, junior girls 800 metres, 1,500 metres.

Loyalist (1)

Sam Mace, midget boys discus.

Marie-Rivier (1)

Sophia Skorenky, junior girls 200 metres.

Napanee (1)

Leah Hill, junior girls shot put, discus.

Prince Edward (1)

Cole Norton, junior boys 100 metres, 200 metres.

Queen Elizabeth (1)

Drew Marquette, midget boys shot put.

Regiopolis Notre Dame (5)

Danny Amaral, open boys ID 100 metrs.

Robert Connors, midget boys high jump.

Emily Drouin, senior girls 800 metres.

Branna MacDougall, midget girls 800 metres, 1,500 metres.

Hailey Wolfgram, midget girls shot put, javelin.

Rideau District (2)

Kara Blair, miget girls long jump.

Chelsea Wood, junior girls 80-metre hurdles.

Sharbot Lake (2)

David Cox, junior boys high jump.

Johnny Vinkle, senior boys shot put.

Sydenham (16)

Nick Adams, midget boys 800 metres.

Ben Amos, midget boys 300-metre hurdles.

Nicole Armstrong, senior girls 800 metres, 1,500 metres; open girls 1,600-metre relay.

Jay Dearborn, senior boys javelin; open boys 1,600-metre relay.

Wade Embury, senior boys 200 metres, 400 metres; open boys 1,600-metre relay.

Emelyn Fauvel, senior girls 400-metre relay; open girls 1,600-metre relay.

Celina Grey, open girls 1,600-metre relay.

Eamon Hillis, open boys 1,600-metre relay.

Shirley Hughes, open girls ID 100 metres.

Eric Lusk, midget boys 100-metre hurdles.

Alicia McMullen, senior girls 400-metre relay.

Rachel Nelles, senior girls 400-metre relay.

Brittney Patterson, junior girls 80-metre hurdles.

Garrett Thompson, open boys ID 100 metres.

Amanda Tibbutt, senior girls 400-metre relay; open girls 1,600-metre relay.

Ben Trickey, senior boys 400 metres; open boys 1,600-metre relay.

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