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Monday, Nov. 19, 2018
Tillson and the senior Knights pass the torch
by Randy Pascal

Yes, the Lo-Ellen Park Knights uber-successful track and field team will graduate some impressive senior talent this year, with the likes of Kelly Thompson, Morgan Smith, Sydney Tarini and Josh Tillson all moving on.

Given the pipeline of new, incoming talent that was on display the past two days at the SDSSAA Track & Field Championships at Laurentian University, however, the Knights' era of dominance appears to be in very good hands, moving forward.

Elements of both ends of the Lo-Ellen track and field spectrum combined forces in a big way this year, as coach Colin Ward and company established a new all-time points record (1157), all while racking up their 13th aggregate crown in the past 14 years, and 30th in 33 attempts since 1986.

No wonder Tillson, who will be attending the University of British Columbia beginning in September, was feeling a bit nostalgic on Thursday.

"I think I'm taking more time to just appreciate the athleticism we have at our school," said Tillson. "Just to see some of the most incredible athletes come out here and perform, see them break records. Even the high level athletes that lose today, but you see the fire in their eyes, ready to come back come NOSSA, come OFSAA, and beat those people who beat them today."

Now in grade 12 and splitting his time between his role as student council president, creator and organizer of the Unbreakable Spring Open (a run fundraiser in support of fighting the mental health stigma), as well as key member of the Lo-Ellen track juggernaut, Tillson approaches his summer meets much differently now than when he first started high-school.

"I'm not taking running as seriously as I used to," he said. "I am still not beating the times I was running in grade nine – but it was fun to come out and compete with the younger athletes that are extremely talented and train really, really hard."

Despite easing off somewhat on his training, Tillson was still able to capture the 1500m (4:30.23) and 3000m (9:53.90), adding a silver in the 800m to the mix as well. Thankfully, for the Knights, he had no lack of company in terms of strong performances from his Lo-Ellen teammates, including Sydney Tarini, showcasing an encouraging return to form this week.

"Today was definitely a really good race for me, it really surprised me," said Tarini, moments after capturing gold in the senior girls 1500m distance (5:11.82). "I had a really slow start to my season, I wasn't having good training at all."

"The Black Flies (Meet) was really a wake-up call for me, because I got my butt kicked – my time was not at all what I expected. I trained really hard for the past month. The 800m, yesterday, was a really good race for me. I redeemed myself."

Buoyed by her most recent results, Tarini can look forward to another possible trip to OFSAA, anxiously anticipating the race that she prefers the most. "Mentally, I've always loved the 1500m," she said. "It's just the perfect distance with me. I find the 800m super fast, and I've always had trouble with leg speed and the kick at the end. With the 1500m, it gives me time to make up for me, even if I don't have that fast kick at the end."

Meanwhile, the grade nine sister tandem of Kalila and Chandyn Bachiu allows the Lo-Ellen graduating class to rest easy, confident the torch has been safely passed along. The midget duet (though both girls are in grade nine, they are not twins, born ten months apart, Chandyn the older of the two) combined for four gold medals, along with a silver and bronze.

Kalila swept the middle distance races, finishing first in the 800m, 1500m and 3000m, while Chandyn not only won the triple jump, but erased a record that had stood since 2006 in the process.

"I really love jumping, the triple jump and the long jump - I really want to move on with them. I think I like the triple jump a little bit more, but only a little bit," she said, not long after her three-step leap of 10.26 meters bettered the previous mark of 10.16m by Ariane Morin of Lively.

"The triple jump is way harder on the body, it's way more technical. The triple jumps needs to be level, but in long jump, you're going high up in the air. They're really different."

Like a good number of the Knights' athletes, Bachiu was well aware of her relative ability entering the city-wide competition. "I did my research," she said. "I looked at all of the records and all of the placings. I knew what the record was."

"It was my best jump, by far," she added. "I think I had a really fast run-up, and my middle step, which is always my weakness, was really good." Joining Bachiu in the record books was Confederation Charger junior high-jump champ Amy Connelly.

Garnering the only top-three finish at the 2017 OFSAA Championships for local athletes with a jump of 1.55 metres, the 15 year old grade ten student cleared 1.58m on her final attempt Thursday morning, adding a little height to the former standard of 1.54m that Kara Tiplady (Lockerby) registered in 2009.

"I am still working a lot on arching my back," said Connelly. "I didn't think that I had made it. I looked back and was surprised that the bar had stayed. I would like to jump at least 1.60m at OFSAA."

When it comes to record-setting performances, Bishop Alexander Carter sprinter Paige Savard and her co-horts have their work cut out for them. That's what happens when the mark is first established by Olympian Rebecca Johnston, who clocked a time of 12.43 seconds in the 100m dash while in grade ten at Lo-Ellen.

Johnston, of course, would go on to claim five OFSAA medals during her track and field career as a Knight, all while also developing into one of the country's top female hockey players simultaneously.

When the bar is set that high, the goals must be tempered. For Savard, a first place finish and strong run on the back of a solid race with Madisyn Papineau of Collège Notre-Dame, the previous day, provided plenty of reason to celebrate.

"I was very happy with my start, building up speed at the end to get past the girls," said Savard. "I like the 200m better. Because my starts aren't the best, I get to build up more speed. But with the outcome today, maybe the 100m will be the one."

The 200m junior girls final, which was staged on Wednesday and would see Papineau (27.05) out-sprint Savard (27.50), garnered considerable pre-race interest when the top two seeds posted head-turning times of 25.20 (Papineau) and 26.60 (Savard), both notably close to the provincial caliber record that still belongs to Johnston (25.08).

Following is a complete list of day two winners at the track:

Midget Girls
100m - Naomi Palmer (Sacré-Coeur) - 13.34
400m - Kristen Mrozewski (Lo-Ellen) - 1:02.58
1500m - Kalila Bachiu (Lo-Ellen) - 5:31.05
300m hurdles - Kristen Mrozewski (Lo-Ellen) - 49.07
Long Jump - Kelsey Dunn (Notre-Dame) - 4.78m
Triple Jump - Chandyn Bachiu (Lo-Ellen) - 10.26m*
Shot Put - Lauren Fearn (Lo-Ellen) - 11.43m*
Javelin - Cayd Webkamigad (St Charles) - 24.05m
4 X 100m Relay - Lo-Ellen Park - 53.33
(* new record)

Midget Boys
100m - Devon Savignac (St Charles) - 11.71
400m - Tyson Belland (Lasalle) - 55.96
1500m - Calum Passi (Lasalle) - 4:45.31
300m hurdles - Jacob Giroux (Lo-Ellen) - 49.21
Triple Jump - Brendan Lemay (Notre-Dame) - 11.47m
Shot Put - Mederic Bourdon (Hanmer) - 11.50m
Discus - Caelen Mantle (Lo-Ellen) - 32.05m
4 X 100m Relay - Lo-Ellen Park - 49.22

Junior Girls
100m - Paige Savard (Bishop Carter) - 13.38
400m - Erika Brown (Lo-Ellen) - 1:01.59
1500m - Dylann Mazzuchin (Lo-Ellen) - 5:39.53
300m hurdles - Erika Brown (Lo-Ellen) - 48.74
High Jump - Amy Connelly (Confederation) - 1.58m*
Triple Jump - Sami Dunlop-Bassett (Lo-Ellen) - 9.54m
Discus - Lexine Moyle (Macdonald-Cartier) - 23.82m
4 X 100m Relay - Collège Notre-Dame - 53.65

Junior Boys
100m - Logan Spicer (Lo-Ellen) - 11.91
400m - Ayden Trudeau (Macdonald-Cartier) - 55.96
1500m - André Larocque (Notre-Dame) - 4:22.75
300m hurdles - Nicholas Burke (Lasalle) - 42.52
High Jump - Kevin Watson (Notre-Dame) - 1.75m
Discus - Jacques Mathieu (Notre-Dame) - 42.37m*
Javelin - Bradley Bertrand (Sacré-Coeur) - 41.07m
4 X 100m Relay - Lo-Ellen Park - 48.47

Senior Girls
100m - Christina Robert (Lo-Ellen) - 12.55 (Lo-Ellen)
400m - Carlie Parker (Marymount) - 1:01.93
1500m - Sydney Tarini (Lo-Ellen) - 5:11.82
1500m steeplechase - Natalie Marks de Chabris (Lo-Ellen) - 5:54.97
400m hurdles - Jayme Anderson (Lo-Ellen) - 1:17.53
High Jump - Christine Cousineau (Notre-Dame) - 1.40m
Long Jump - Jaclyn Groom (Lockerby) - 4.78m
Javelin - Jaclyn Groom (Lockerby) - 31.37m
4 X 100m Relay - St Benedict - 53.62

Senior Boys
100m - Zach Mainville (Notre-Dame) - 11.13
400m - Lucas Mrozewski (Lo-Ellen) - 52.31
1500m - Josh Tillson (LO-Ellen) - 4:30.23
2000m steeplechase - Kelly Thompson (Lo-Ellen) - 7:19.96
400m hurdles - Lucas Mrozewski (Lo-Ellen) - 58.72*
Long Jump - Callum Bruser (Lo-Ellen) - 5.78m
Shot Put - Jacob Horgan (Lockerby) - 11.68m
Javelin - Caleb Legros (Notre-Dame) - 40.62m
4 X 100m Relay - Lockerby Composite - 46.50

800m Ambulatory - Christine Cousineau (Notre-Dame) - 3:11.48

Individual Divisional Aggregate champions included:

Midget Girls - Kalila Bachiu (Lo-Ellen)
Midget Boys - Calum Passi (Lasalle)
Junior Girls - Erika Brown (Lo-Ellen)
Junior Boys - André Larocque (Notre-Dame)
Senior Girls - Jaclyn Groom (Lockerby)
Senior Boys - Lucas Mrozewski/Josh Tillson (Lo-Ellen)

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