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OFSAA notebook: Heather Jaros’s record second to be held by a KASSAA athlete

June 10, 2013

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

OSHAWA — Few athletes had the kind of experience La Salle’s Heather Jaros enjoyed at the 64th Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations track and field championships: Two personal-best performances, two medals and a meet record would bring a smile to anyone’s face.

Jaros got her second PB and her second medal Saturday afternoon, when she claimed the silver in junior girls 800 metres. It followed the gold medal she won Friday with a record-breaking performance in the 1,500 metres.

Jaros’s standard is the second OFSAA record to be set by a Kingston-area athlete. The other, since broken, was the record in junior boys pole vault set in 1997 by Mike Kleywegt, coincidentally also from La Salle.

Saturday’s 800-metres final was also won in record time — 2 minutes 8.22 seconds, by Kailie Sawyer of Kitchener Bluevale. Jaros was second in 2:09.83, not only a lifetime mark by more than four seconds, but a time that was a second and a half faster than the winning time in the senior girls division.

“It was fast,” Jaros said. “I was getting a little bit tired on the last lap but I just decided to deal with it. My goal was to get a PB and I really wanted to get under 2:10.

“I didn’t really think about where I’d finish. I just wanted a really good time. I knew if I stayed with them on the first lap it will drive me to a good time.”

Kingston Collegiate runner Cameron Linscott capped a remarkable first OFSAA meet with a dramatic performance Saturday afternoon in midget boys 3,000 metres.

Linscott led for a good deal of the race. By the time there were three laps to go he was leading a group of four at the top of the field, and he continued to lead through the next two laps, pacing a group that by then had grown to six runners.

Riley Tell of Father Leo J. Austin in Whitby took charge as the bell sounded for the final lap. Another runner passed Linscott and at the final bend, the Grade 9 student from KC fell into fourth place, behind Quinn Cannella of Chatham-Kent.

It wasn’t the first time Linscott and Cannella had clashed. Linscott edged him for the bronze medal at the OFSAA cross-country championship last November and it appeared Canella was about to get some satisfaction. Determined not to let that happen, Linscott rallied to claim third place by almost a full second.

Though he did not win for the first time in five meets this year, Linscott posted a time, 9 minutes 0.95 seconds, that was a personal best by four and a half seconds, and more than 25 seconds faster than he ran at the East regional meet.

It was Linscott’s second PB of the meet, following a seven-second improvement that came in the 1,500 metres final Friday, where he was eighth.

Ben Cross was delighted Saturday, even though he missed a medal by one spot, finishing fourth in junior boys javelin at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations meet.

“I feel pretty good,” said Cross, who let fly with a season-best toss of 50.54 metres to lead the field after three rounds. He was still ahead until late in Round 5, and then two other throwers passed him in the final round.

The distance provided Cross with enough satisfaction to wipe away any disappointment of missing a medal by one position.

“I’ve changed a lot this year — the position of the javelin, where my arm should be, my steps, my run-up, pretty much the whole thing.”

Cross established his personal record, 51.53 metres, at the Kingston Area championship in Grade 9. He won the silver medal at OFSAA last year as a midget-aged competitor but this year he’s been nowhere near his 2012 numbers.

Last summer, Cross began working with renowned javelin coach Bill Heikkila in Ottawa. “He told me that in order to improve you’ve got to change the step up and start working on that.” Cross was cautioned that as his technique was dismantled and re-assembled, performance would necessarily decline as a result, before starting to improve again.

Even with the promise of long-term progress, Cross said it was difficult to accept the part about taking a step back.

“At the beginning of the season, at KASSAA, I was at 42, 43 or something like that and I was just, like, ‘Whoa, last year I threw this and now I’m here,’ but as the meets went on I got better and better.”

Still, a 50-metre throw eluded him until Saturday.

“It was really important (to get it),” Cross said. “It means I am improving, I am learning, I am getter better with (the new method).”

Cross admitted feeling discouraged at times during the season, “knowing it’s not working.”

“At East regionals I threw probably 46, 45 and then I went back to my old thing and I threw 48 to get here. I was doubting (whether the new technique was going to work) but Mr. Johnston (Frontenac coach Doug Johnston) said, ‘Stay with it; you’ve been working with it all summer. Why not give it a chance?’”

Though she’d won OFSAA medals in the 800 metres in both her previous years of high school competition, Nicole Armstrong came to this year’s meet with modest expectations.

“I’m in Grade 11, I’m not expecting to do anything big,” she said of it being the first of two years of senior competition. “My main goal was to make finals this year. Anything after that was really great.

“Matching a PB and seeing my club teammates do well is really awesome.”

The senior girls 800-metres heats Saturday morning were uncommonly fast, particularly the race Armstrong was in. She had to run a season-best time just to finish fourth and qualify for the final.

“I’ve never really had to run a heat that hard,” she said. “Once I was in fourth I was really pushing to get top two but even after that I knew I was going to have to push to get in as a time qualifier.”

What she learned from that, Armstrong said, was the final was going to be a fast race.

“I knew the girls weren’t going to dilly-dally or muck around with anything. They were going to get after it. I was expecting it to be hard and it was.”

Armstrong matched her personal best, 2:12.91, and finished fourth in the final. It was her second top-five finish at the meet, after a season-best 4:33.09 placed her fifth in Friday’s 1,500 metres, an event she contested for the first time this year.

“I’ve found the 15 easier, actually; 800s are just the toughest race ever.”

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