Two Elmira District Secondary School track and field stars reached the pinnacle of high school sport last weekend by competing in the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association’s (OFSAA) championships.
They joined elite athletes from across the province at St. Marcellinus Secondary School in Mississauga from June 5-7.
To qualify for the event, students must beat thousands of their peers at the Waterloo County Secondary School Athletic Association (WCSSAA), the Central Western Ontario Secondary School Association (CWOSSA) and the OFSAA West Regional meets. It is no easy feat.“Some years (EDSS) won’t send any athletes to OFSAA,” said coach Lisa Douglas. “To have two students this year was great. They should be very proud of themselves.”
Grade 9 sprinter Owen Read described his first OFSAA experience.
“It was pretty cool. There were a lot of really good runners there.”
After winning the 100- and 200-metre races at each of the qualifying meets, Read placed 15th in the 100m with a time of 12.15 seconds, and 10th in the 200m at 23.43 seconds. He also ran the 400-metre at WCSAA and CWOSSA, but decided to focus on the shorter distances as the competition level stiffened.
“I think I’m best at the 200, because my start isn’t the best, so I’m kind of behind at the start of the 100 and I don’t think I have quite enough stamina yet to go for the full 400,” Read said. “But my speed is good enough that the start doesn’t matter quite as much in the 200.”Emily Willms finished 22nd in the Grade 10 girls javelin competition, with a final throw of 25.09 metres. While her performance fell short of her personal best throw of 33.88 metres, Willms said she enjoyed her first taste of OFSAA action.
“It was really cool to see how good some of the girls were, because I saw one girl threw 40.17 metres, which is crazy,” she said. “Everyone is really competitive so it is a different atmosphere.”
Students are fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in a variety of field events like javelin, Douglas said, since it depends on the school employing coaches with a wide range of skills.
“Our coach Ms. Austin used to throw javelin in high school, so she teaches the javelin throwers on our team,” Willms said.
Still in the early years of their high school athletic careers, Willms and Read have the potential to contend for multiple provincial championships going forward. But it will take determination to get back to OFSAA next year.
In order to maintain his edge, Read joined the Laurel Creek track team outside of school.
“We do a lot of resistance running and we just do a lot of running over and over,” he explained.
He also credits his EDSS track coaches.
“They are really great motivators. They are always there, like at the West regionals something happened with the clock, which did not start in my heat. They were right there to talk to the officials to get it straightened out.”