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More new faces than old at SDSSAA Track and Field - 2022
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Each and every year, a new wave of local athletic talent will surface as the Sudbury high-school folks convene for the SDSSAA Track & Field Championships. The new faces to watch down the road are always among the fun storylines to be followed at the two day event.

But when it’s been three full years since the last such meet was run, there are easily far more questions than answers going in. The simple truth is that those athletes who were participating in their first ever SDSSAA track competition far outnumbered those who drew upon previous experience to help them along the way.

In the end, more than fifty individual athletes would capture gold in one or more events, not including another solid handful who were members of a winning relay team or two. And while space and time restrictions do not allow us to bring you each and every one of their stories, here is an interesting cross-section of the Sudbury track and field champions (with all event winners noted below):

Brady Ducharme – Lockerby: (Sr Boys - 1st place – long jump & triple jump – 3rd in 110m hurdles) – preparing to leave in the fall to Carleton University to study Aerospace Engineering, Brady Ducharme approaches his athletic excellence in a wholesome, light-hearted manner, as he looks to the possibility of continuing to balance sports and studies within the landscape of the OUA.

“I’m a little bit coordinated with my body and the triple jump requires a lot of coordination – but I say with my body because as soon as you put a ball in my hands, for basketball and such, I can’t do anything,” Ducharme suggested with a laugh. “I would like to keep competing – I quite enjoy doing track and field – but I understand that engineering is a very busy discipline for university.”

“Ideally, I will make time for it.”

Lucia Salmaso – Marymount: (Novice Girls – 1st place – 800m, 1500m, 3000m) – Salmaso is no stranger to the local running scene, comfortably covering 5km and 10km runs while most of her elementary schoolmates considered a 400m race a distance event. While she completed the novice sweep for the Regals, the lead-in to the city meet was something less than ideal.

“I got Covid this winter and had to take two weeks off and then started building up slowly again,” said the 14 year-old first year high-school student. “I was doing workouts on the treadmill, which wasn’t very enjoyable. I don’t like running inside.”

Still, she was able to pull away in the end, regardless of the distance, with a little room to spare. “For the 3km, I wanted to get a good time, just because I knew that I would probably make it to OFSAA. For the 800m, I took it a little easier, but I realized I wasn’t hurting so I pushed a little more.”

Caden Fabbro – Lo-Ellen Park: (Sr Boys – 1st place – 110m; 3rd in 100m) – the middle child of the highly athletic Fabbro clan who have already produced city T & F champs, with more on the way, Caden has parlayed his elementary track experience, and some training on the side, to some very solid showings in the hurdle events that are the Knights’ domain.

“The past few years, I’ve done some resistance training – squatting with a barbell and stuff – which I think has helped because there’s a lot of stretching before you do it,” said the 17 year old grade 11 senior. “I think it helped with my hip mobility and really helps me get that lead leg up.”

Ironically, Fabbro finished third in the preliminary 110m hurdles heat, a race that took place less than a half hour before the finals. Still, he was able to tidy up his technique a little, a definite goal as he tries to approach this new endeavour with a longer term outlook in mind.

“For my second race, just getting my trail leg high, close to my armpit, was the biggest thing,” Fabbro explained. “I’m just trying to get some experience with these hurdles for the next track season because it’s still my first time doing them.”

Luca Graffi - Lockerby: (Sr Boys – 1st place – pole vault; 2nd place – high jump) – an all-around athlete but with no background in gymnastics (almost always the starting point for those who excel quickly in the pole vault), Graffi can relate to the challenges of trying to master a brand new discipline – though having retired teacher Paul Brunelle covering the progression of pole vault development certainly helps a lot.

“We started just finding out where our base point was, with hands on the pole,” said Graffi, who pointed to the high jump as his primary track and field event prior to entering high-school. “Then it was three steps; you would run full speed and just swing through, letting the top hand off just to get the stepping part.”

“From there, you hold on and just swing – and once you got the hang of that, you worked on the turn at the top.” And as for his first meet in an event that few even dare to try and learn – Graffi as much as admitted that the pole vault might be his best pathway to OFSAA – there was still some learning to be done, to go along with some very positive signs.

“My hand placement and running, I would really like to improve,” he said. “I need more speed and to carry the speed through the vault. My twist was solid today and my takeoffs were great. I was happy with that.”

Nicholas Bechard – College Notre-Dame: (Novice Boys – 1st in 100m, 200m and long jump) – one of the true revelations of the 2022 championships, the grade nine student at CND enjoyed some elementary success, pre-Covid, but ramped it way up with his move to the high-school ranks.

“In sixth grade (St Joseph), I came first in my 50m and it kind of kicked in that I was good at it – so I just kept going,” said Bechard. “In elementary school, it was all for fun, but in high school, they were in it to win it.”

Still, Bechard is a relatively raw, undeveloped talent, still trying to garner a grasp on some of the key elements of the sprints. “I haven’t used starting blocks much,” he said. “I like them, but I’m not really used to them. Sometimes, I find they slip – so my starts are probably my weak point.”

Kaeden Ward – Lo-Ellen: (Sr Boys – 1st place – 1500m, 3000m, 2000m steeplechase) – while the absence of the city track and field championships these past two years likely hit the son of the Knights track program harder than most, the grade 11 multi-sport athlete is trying to remain philosophical as he looks to reach OFSAA early next month.

“The goal is just to try and improve as you go along,” he said. “You might start off the season a little slow, but you progress really fast. By the time you get to OFSAA, there is so much competition, you will probably run a good time if you have a good race.”

As for his approach on the various events, it tends to differ somewhat through each of the three races. “The steeplechase is a fun concept to do,” said Ward. “It gets pretty tiring, but it’s a fun race with all of the hurdles and the water jump. The 3000m feels long, just going around the track seven and a half times – that can be boring sometimes.”

“The 1500m feels like a good event. Sometimes, I just think about running a fast 1200m because the last 300 metres, you can just fight your way through.”

Only one new record was established, and that by Riley Cornthwaite of Lasalle, who bested his own previous PB with a time of 2:49.04 in the 800m dash – intellectually impaired event.

Senior Girls Division
100m – Sierra Boyuk (BAC) – 13.85
200m – Julia Arnold (LOE) – 29.78
400m – Peyton Brear (LAS) – 1:09.97
800m – Sophia Oommen (LOE) – 2:47.52
1500m – Avery Sutherland (LOE) – 5:37.42
3000m – Avery Sutherland (LOE) – 12:08.95
100m hurdles – Sophie Moore (LOE) – 17.46
400m hurdles – Sierra Boyuk (BAC) – 1:13.98
High Jump – Sydney Coe (LCS) – 1.46m
Long Jump – Charlotte Eberlein (LAS) – 4.83m
Triple Jump – Charlotte Eberlein (LAS) – 9.86m
Pole Vault – Kaija Beljo (LCS) – 2.00m
Shot Put – Abigail Howsare (LCS) – 8.55m
Discus – Katie Pilon (ESMC) – 24.36
Javelin – Ashley Ruddick (CFD) – 27.47m
2000m steeplechase – Sophia Oomen (LOE) – 8:48.59

Senior Boys Division
100m – Josh McKay (LAS) – 11.85
200m – Luca Domagalski (STB) – 24.14
400m – Liam Lacroix (LOE) – 53.36
800m – Liam Lacroix (LOE) – 2:12.86
1500m – Kaeden Ward (LOE) – 4:27.83
3000m - Kaeden Ward (LOE) – 9:36.57
110m hurdles – Caden Fabbro (LOE) – 16.97
300m hurdles – Travis Annett (LCS) – 1:08.72
High Jump – Ryan Rubic (LIV) – 1.83m
Long Jump – Brady Ducharme (LCS) – 5.82m
Triple Jump – Brady Ducharme (LCS) – 13.23m
Pole Vault – Luca Graffi (LCS) – 2.80m
Shot Put – Owen MacDonald (LIV) – 12.59m
Discus – Cameron Shanks (LOE) – 29.30m
Javelin – Ethan Scott (LOE) – 45.48m
2000m steeplechase – Kaeden Ward – 7:00.29

Junior Girls Division
100m – Aimee Remillard (BAC) – 13.56
200m – Claire Schmidt (LOE) – 28.51
400m – Finlay Cuza (LOE) – 1:06.22
800m – Finlay Cuza (LOE) – 2:31.62
1500m – Lauren Pineau (LCS) – 5:24.34
3000m – Georgia Lepage (STB) – 11:53.63
80m hurdles – Aimie Remillard (BAC) – 13.87
300m hurdles – Finlay Cuza (LOE) – 53.25
High Jump – Alissa Diavolitsis (LCS) – 1.37m
Long Jump – Maeva Sullivan (LCS) – 4.87m
Triple Jump – Aimie Remillard (BAC) – 9.94m
Pole Vault – Avani Innis (LCS) – 1.80m
Shot Put – Chloe Rinaldi (HOR) – 10.44m
Discus – Kendra Shanks (LOE) – 20.37m
Javelin – Adasyn Radey (LAS) – 21.85m

Junior Boys Division
100m – Gavan Potvin (BAC) – 12.13
200m – Jacob Barney (LOE) – 25.18
400m – Atom Thususka (LCS) – 58.47
800m – Owen Dobson (LOE) – 2:16.26
1500m – Sam Rice (LOE) – 4:34.57
3000m – Sam Rice (LOE) – 9:43.02
100m hurdles – Caleb Lalonde (CHMP) – 17.63
300m hurdles –Jacob Barney (LOE) – 56.84
High Jump – Adam Scott (LOE) – 1.75m
Long Jump – Zidain Allen (LAS) – 5.81m
Triple Jump – Adam Scott (LOE) – 11.54m
Pole Vault – Corbin Appleby (LCS) – 2.00m
Shot Put – James Scott (STC) – 11.02m
Discus – Okikola Olufowabi (CFD) – 24.13m
Javelin – James Scott (STC) – 35.70m

Novice Girls Division
100m – Milena Kulik (LOE) – 13.46
200m – Milena Kulik (LOE) – 27.40
400m – Gracie Dale (LOE) – 1:08.07
800m – Lucia Salmaso (MMT) – 2:32.27
1500m – Lucia Salmaso (MMT) – 5:28.38
3000m – Lucia Salmaso (MMT) – 12:15.15
80m hurdles – Sidney Skrobit (LOE) – 14.95
300m hurdles – Olivia Ball (LOE) – 56.26
High Jump – Sidney Skrobot (LOE) – 1.45m
Long Jump – Kali Clement (LAS) – 4.12m
Triple Jump – Kali Clement (LAS) – 9.35m
Pole Vault – Evelyn Holloway (LCS) – 1.90m
Shot Put – Kayeisha Thomas (MMT) – 9.82m
Discus – Kayeisha Thomas (MMT) – 20.39m
Javelin – Lindsey Brouillette (LCS) – 20.40m

Novice Boys Division
100m – Nicholas Bechard (CND) – 12.38
200m – Nicholas Bechard (CND) -25.30
400m – Adam Urso (STC) – 59.35
800m – Nicho Labrecque (LOE) – 2:15.92
1500m – Nicho Labrecque (LOE) – 4:38.63
3000m – Nicho Labrecque (LOE) – 10:36.54
100m hurdles – Logan Mannella (LAS) – 16.00
300m hurdles – Corey Lacroix (LOE) – 47.59
High Jump – Riley Graffi (LOE) – 1.60m
Long Jump – Nicholas Bechard (CND) – 5.49m
Triple Jump – Will Mackey (LAS) – 10.81m
Shot Put – Isaac Jeanveau (BAC) – 10.72m
Discus – Camden Kirkey (LOE) – 27.20m
Javelin – Brayden Bertrand (SC) – 34.57m

Sudbury Wolves