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Logan Spicer combines the power of potential and positivity
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The Guelph Gryphons' track and field program have nabbed themselves one heck of an athlete with the recent commitment of local Logan Spicer to their school.

On the side, they are also gaining a young man with a very healthy outlook on life.

If the pandemic has made it increasingly difficult to assess with accuracy the former skill-set for the grade 12 student at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School and the remainder of the current graduating class, it has also shone a light on the ability for these talented teens to tap into the latter.

“I really try and look at the positives with most things,” said Spicer, a young man who is just itching for the opportunity to strut his stuff as he enrols in the Human Kinetics program at Guelph this fall, already with an eye on post-secondary studies that could extend beyond his undergraduate degree.

“I find that staying positive is the best way to motivate myself and keep training. If anything, the pandemic motivated me more because I know that some people would get demotivated. I knew that I had to keep training as hard as I could. I see this as an opportunity to get really fit and come flying out of the gates next year.”

An all-around athlete who will likely specialize in either the high jump (current PB of 1.96m) or the 100m dash (current PB of 11.05 - “it’s hard to put a number on it, but in a good race, I would like to hit 10.80”), Spicer could have been forgiven for giving in to the frustrations of COVID-19 this time last year.

“One week before the pandemic hit, I was in Florida with a track club from down south,” he recalled. “During that camp, my motivation for the sport just shot upwards. I was training like never before.”

Not that Spicer ever lacked motivation. Pretty much since the time that he burst onto the local track scene via various Lively elementary schools, the young man who surprised himself by qualifying for the Canadian Legion Track & Field Championships in 2018 in the high jump has been more than willing to put in the work.

Typically, the rewards of those efforts are confirmed in competition. Not in the spring/summer of 2020, however. Not even likely in 2021. And so athletes are left to train - and train and train and train some more.

“I was blessed to do a sport like track where I can pretty much go and run anywhere, and it really doesn’t matter,” rationalized Spicer. “As long as it’s warm enough out, I can run wherever I want. But a lot of coaching wasn’t able to happen during the lockdowns. It was weird not having that coach who was constantly picking away at the technical stuff.”

“It felt like I was working out more based on general fitness than the technical aspect of it.”

Unfortunately, “warm enough” are two words that are seldom used in the same sentence as “Sudbury winters”. With no access to the fieldhouse and indoor track at Laurentian University, Spicer and others simply had to make the best of it.

The young man who would have been given great odds to break the current senior boys 100m dash record of 11.07 (Eric Roque - Spicer ran 11.05 at the Legion District Meet in June of 2019) had a SDSSAA championship been hosted in either 2020 or 2021 was back to counting his blessings.

“Towards the end of my volleyball season (November 2020), I was able to get a treadmill and some weights from family and family acquaintances, which I was thankful for,” he said. “It’s difficult not having access to the facilities.”

“I got a good amount of weightlifting and strength training in, which was still beneficial for a strength-based athlete like myself. I was happy to get that sort of work in.”

Of course, it certainly didn’t hurt that Spicer’s pre-pandemic numbers had already caught the eyes of track coaches across the province, enough to generate some interest. Rest assured that he would love nothing more than to repay the faith of the Gryphons coaching staff in spades, whether the OUA indoor track season is ready to go this winter, or somewhere a little further down the road.

"It’s unfortunate that I lost these opportunities to show what I have,” said Spicer. “I’ve been training my butt off for a year and a half but unable to compete. I’m hoping that when I hit that university stage, I’ll be able to show what I have been training for. I’m looking forward to that, excited to have the opportunity.”

“I know that I am going to have opportunities in the future - hopefully, I will be able to capitalize on them.”

It’s been 18 months or so of relying on those closest to him, family, Track North coaches, teammates, everyone that Logan Spicer realizes is in his corner. Still, he looks beyond that.

“The athletes that I compete against motivate me indirectly,” he suggested. “It’s not even that I necessarily talk to them, but knowing that other athletes are in similar situations to me. That’s what I try and think about, that there’s these other guys that are training just as hard as me, possibly even harder - and that keeps me going.”

Though he is unable to offer tangible proof, with meets and such on hold, Spicer feels stronger. Cautiously optimistic, he acknowledged having at least some numbers that run through his head.

“It’s hard to say with the high jump, just because I haven’t been over a bar in so long,” he said. “I’m really curious to where I am going be at. I’m really not sure, quite honestly, but I’m hoping that I am above 2.0 metres - but it’s really hard to say.”

What he can say, with certainty, is that come September, he will be ready to start the next leg of his journey, at the University of Guelph. And that, if nothing else, is a positive thing - which is what Logan Spicer is really all about.

Northern Ontario AAA Hockey League