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Regi’s Hailey Wolfgram wins OFSAA bronze in shot put

June 9, 2013

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

OSHAWA — At first glance, you’d never have suspected that Hailey Wolfgram’s first competition at a provincial high school track and field championship was anything but a disaster. Her reddened eyes told a story.

But, then, the bronze medal hanging around her neck told another.

“Being a midget, she doesn’t realize what an accomplishment it is,” coach Tim Fawcett said, after Wolfgram opened the final day of the 64th Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations track and field meet Saturday morning with a medal-winning performance in midget girls shot put.

“I should have done better,” said Wolfgram, a Grade 9 student at Regiopolis Notre Dame, working hard to stay composed.

“I just was not throwing today and (the other girls) were throwing better.”

With members of Regi’s girls soccer team, on their way home from their OFSAA soccer tournament in Windsor, in the gallery, Wolfgram had a best put of 9.97 metres on her final attempt, just 11 centimetres off her personal best. She’d done 9.95 metres earlier in the competition, and held third place throughout the final three rounds.

Ashley Chin of Pickering Dunbarton won the event at 10.41 metres. On this day, a throw of 10.19 metres would win the silver medal.

For Wolfgram the disappointment was apparent. After winning the regional title last week with a put of 10.08 metres — an 80-centimetre PB that seeded her second going into the OFSAA competition — Wolfgram had thrown as far as 11 metres in practice last week.

Being disappointed with a third-place performance at OFSAA shows just how fierce a competitor Wolfgram is, Fawcett said.

“I think she sees that it was a possibility that she could beat everybody in both events. I think that’s got her (upset).”

The other event to which Fawcett referred was discus, which Wolfgram considers her premier discipline. She had a bad day at the regional meet a week ago, however, and failed to qualify to contest it at OFSAA.

On Friday, Wolfgram watched while the other midget girls threw the disc here.

“That was very frustrating,” she said. “I should have placed in the top three or four.”

Nonetheless, she continued, that was something she had to do finally to cleanse the lingering bad taste — “that’s over,” she said, “that’s the past” — and the exercise put her in a better place to throw the shot Saturday morning.

“I needed to refocus,” she said. “This would be a new event.”

It seemed a mature response for someone in her first season of high school competition, but it didn’t surprise Fawcett.

“She’s got it going,” he said. “I’ve got her pegged as the next big thrower from our area, because she’s got it together mentally, because she knows how to work, because she’s played some high level sports, basketball and fastball, and she can focus.

“She’s keen to do the strength training. As she gets more competition in track and field under her belt, she’s going to get better and better.”

Wolfgram said the pre-competition routine at OFSAA, where athletes are marshalled in a common area well before their events start, then paraded together to the competition site, was something for which she wasn’t prepared and, as a result, had an impact on her performance.

“Going and sitting in a tent for 40 minutes, thinking about your event, thinking about technique and things, made me nervous,” she said.

“It makes you really re-think how you should do. It was pretty nerve wracking.”

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