With few local athletes ranked among the top-end competitors heading into the OFSAA 2011 Track & Field Championships on Thursday, someone was
going to have to step up and surprise if SDSSAA was to avoid being shutout of the medal count on home turf.
Thankfully, almost no one has surprised the local track & field community more over the past twelve months than Ecole Secondaire Hanmer sprinter Ashley
It was roughly a year ago this time that the shy teenager representing a school of some one hundred students or so competed in the city final, without
spikes, without starting blocks, with loose-fitting shorts that she adjusted mid-race on her way to an impressive second place finish in a time of 13.24.
And while the past twelve months have seen Huard display the trademark signs of training with the Track North Athletic Club crew, the fact was she
entered the 2011 competition with a personal best time of 12.50, not fast enough to crack the Senior Girls 100m final once you've gathered the best
runners in Ontario.
"I was thinking just to get a personal best and maybe make the finals - that's about it," Huard said on Saturday. That was some 24 hours after she blew
away her previous PB, not to mention local track fans, blazing her way to a Bronze medal in a time of 12.01 seconds.
Her podium was made possible by an equally astounding 12.00 flat time in her heat on Friday, earning the Grade 11 speedster the number four seed heading
into the finals.
"I think I was able to push myself, because there's a lot of fast girls here and that's maybe what made me run the 12.00," she said. Although it is true
that many local athletes will see an improvement in their performance once they pit themselves against the elite competition that OFSAA provides, runners
in the 100m dash simply don't lop off a half second from their personal best times on a regular basis.
After running times of 12.50 and 12.71 to win the SDSSAA and NOSSA crowns respectively, all of the hard work in mastering the form of a sprinter came
together at OFSAA.
"At first, it was a little challenging getting the technique down, but it didn't take me too long," Huard said. "Keeping up my speed at the end is most
For the young lady who stands at the start line wanting simply to run fast, the future appears bright. "I just want to keep working at it and hopefully
one day, make it to the Olympics, or World Juniors maybe, and go from there."
Mind you, Huard wasn't alone in the department of "pleasant surprises from Sudbury and area athletes." Lasalle junior high jumper Brandon Mask also
established a new personal best height, clearing 1.88 metres in nabbing fifth place on Friday.
"I just really had to focus on the bar, where to jump, and really bend my back a lot," Mask said shortly after his event was completed. Like a good chunk
of the younger track and field athletes in the region, Mask has benefitted from the training provided by multi-sport participation, as very few locals
commit completely to track prior to grade 11.
"Since I play a lot of sports, like basketball and volleyball, I get a lot of "hops", so high jump is one of the sports in track and field that I do
good in," said the young man who has added three inches to his frame in the past year or so. "I think I can make it far in it (track), but I have to start
Although he does not represent a SDSSAA school, Manitoulin Secondary senior Jeremy Cooper has garnered the attention of "one of our own", by
virtue of training constantly with the local club.
After crossing the line well off his personal best time in the 1500m Thursday evening, Cooper seemingly targetted all of his efforts into a better
performance in the 3000m. Mission accomplished and then some as the silk-smooth distance runner earned a 6th place finish in an impressive time of
"Distance favours me," Cooper said after running the 1500m. "There's a lot more speed in the 1500. You're going to be kicking that last lap and that
kick is where it differs for each person."
Benefitting from the additional laps encompassed in the 3km event, Cooper warmed up for his next big competition with a solid race in Sudbury. "I have
Junior Trials in Winnipeg coming up and that's the big one that I'm shooting for," said the young man who has qualified to run in the 5000m race.
The awe-inspiring setting that is OFSAA track & field clearly affected (negatively) the performance of some locals, though others were able to rise
above. Cray Roberge, a grade 9 student at Collθge Notre-Dame, picked up a fifth place ribbon in the midget boys high jump, leaping 1.75 metres,
well above the 1.66m height needed to secure first place at NOSSA.
>After being absolutely convinced that she had missed out on a chance to return to the 1500m steeplechase final this year, Katie Wismer of Lockerby
made the most of her second chance. Qualifying with the 12th and final entry of the race, Wismer improved her heat time by five seconds in finishing 6th in
the final, more than satisfied with her time of 5:16.09.
Other local athletes who advanced to the final eight included Grace Thomson (Lockerby) in the Senior Girls 100m hurdles (7th - 14.46 seconds) and
John Kosar (Lo-Ellen) in the Senior Boys Pole Vault (8th - 3.75 metres).
Meanwhile, four athletes managed to crack the list of record breakers, including junior phenoms Christian Brennan (St Mary's - Hamilton) and
Andre Azonwanna-Ford (J.Cardinal McGuigan - Toronto).
Brennan obliterated the old mark in the 400m, lowering the standard from 56.04 seconds to 53.66, then took it only slightly easier (tongue in cheek)
in setting new records for the 100m (11.77 seconds) and 200m (23.87 seconds) as well.
One might want to keep an eye out for this young lady in future Olympics. Azonwanna-Ford enjoyed his success on the track as well, throwing down the
gauntlet for future junior sprinters with times of 10.53 seconds (100m) and 21.40 seconds (200m).
Alysha Newman of Mother Theresa in London (Sr Girls Pole Vault - 3.80m) and Jaimie Phelan of St Mary's in Kitchener (Jr Girls 1500m -
4:32.03) managed the remaining two record-breaking performances as Sudbury played host to the OFSAA track & field championships for the first time in more
than a decade.
Following is a complete list of individual performances by SDSSAA athletes over the final two days of competition:
Marianne Alarie (LOE) 80m hurdles 14.26 (22nd)
Dayna Brown (LOE) 80m hurdles 14.15 (21st)
Megan Burt (LCS) 100m dash 13.64 (19th)
Megan Burt (LCS) Long Jump 4.10m (21st)
Amber Mayer (CHMP) High jump 1.35m (21st)
Maxime Campsall (ESMC) High Jump 1.40m (19th)
Malory Rivet (SCC) Discus 21.31m (17th)
Teagan Moxam (LCS) 300m hurdles 51.75 (22nd)
Shelby Small (LCS) Javelin 23.98m (13th)
Gabrielle Pellerin (LOE) Javelin 24.30 (11th)
Jillian Vallier (LAS) Triple Jump 9.56m (19th)
Teegan Gladu (LCS) 100m hurdles 17.68 (24th)
Talon Farmer (LOE) 100m hurdles 15.64 (17th)
Aristo Koutsoukis (LOE) 300m hurdles 45.59 (20th)
Talon Farmer (LOE) 300m hurdles 45.30 (18th)
Owen Sarmatiuk (STB) 3000m 10:46.84 (22nd)
Alex Filion (SC) High Jump 1.60m (18th)
Cray Roberge (CND) High Jump 1.75m (5th)
Ryan Punkari (LIV) Shot Put 12.19m (17th)
Simon Chartrand (HAN) Shot Put 12.55m (12th)
Kathleen Sloan (LCS) 80m hurdles 13.52 (22nd)
Kelsey Shaw (LOE) 80m hurdles 13.40 (21st)
Alenna Predon (MMT) 100m dash 13.64 (22nd)
Kory Guy (LCS) 100m dash 13.33 (21st)
Kory Guy (LCS) 300m hurdles 50.48 (18th)
Zvia Mazal (ESMC) Triple Jump 10.08 (17th)
Josιe Lessard (CHMP) Shot Put 8.43m (23rd)
Emilie Loiselle (CHMP Shot Put 8.44m (22nd)
Brianne Plante (CHMP) High Jump 1.38m (22nd)
Erica Conlin (LOE) 300m hurdles 50.46 (17th)
Katie Wiwchar (LOE) 300m hurdles 49.72 (15th)
Indigo Clement (LOE) Discus 21.96m (19th)
Mikella Gauthier (CND) Pole Vault 1.80m (22nd)
Pascale Lavergne-Giroux (CND) Pole Vault 1.80m (19th)
Malcolm Bilton (LCS) 100m hurdles 16.14 (23rd)
Han-Sen Belzile (LOE) 100m dash 12.00 (22nd)
Austin Hodkinson (LCS) Pole Vault 2.60m (22nd)
Wade Montpellier (LOE) Pole Vault 2.60m (18th)
Carter Moroz (LAS) High Jump 1.53m (24th)
Sean Moore (LOE) High Jump 1.68m (21st)
Sean Moore (LOE) Triple Jump 12.33, (13th)
Marc Leger (HAN) High Jump 1.73m (14th)
Brandon Mask (LAS) High Jump 1.88m (5th)
Brandon Belan (STB) 800m 2:03.76 (15th)
Dustin Laurin (LAS) Javelin 30.46m (24th)
Grace Thomson (LCS) 100m hurdles 14.68 (8th) to finals
Grace Thomson (LCS) 100m hurdles 14.46 (7th in finals)
Ashley Huard (HAN) 100m dash 12.00 (4th) to finals
Ashley Huard (HAN) - 100m dash 12.01 (3rd in finals)
Ashley Huard (HAN) 200m dash 25.95 (11th)
Katie Wismer (LCS) 1500m steeplechase (finals) 5:16.09 (6th)
Alicia Violin (CFD) Long Jump 5.12m (11th)
Alicia Violin (CFD) Triple Jump 10.95m (11th)
Kara Tiplady (LCS) High Jump 1.45m (20th)
Jasmine Gauthier (CND) Pole Vault 2.05m (21st)
Adria Lumley (LOE) Pole Vault 2.30m (16th)
Samantha Bechard (SC) 400m hurdles 1:10.29 (17th)
Alannah MacLean (LOE) 400m hurdles 1:06.05 (10th)
Jeremy Cooper (MSS) 1500m 4:07.52 (10th)
Jeremy Cooper (MSS) 3000m 8:31.78 (6th)
Matt Taylor (LAS) Triple Jump 12.63m (15th)
Erick Lessard (STB) Shot Put 11.62m (22nd)
Trevor Gudrie (CFD) Shot Put 14.01m (13th)
Sebastien Diebel (STB) 800m 1:59.36 (20th)
Catlin Cargill (STB) 200m dash 23.70 (20th)
Brandon Shirk (LAS) 200m dash 22.68 (10th)
Eric Lavergne-Giroux (CND) Pole Vault 3.40m (14th)
John Kosar (LOE) Pole Vault 3.75m (8th)