Record-setting pace for EDSS track and field team
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Record-setting pace for EDSS track and field team

The Elmira District Secondary School track and field team ran, jumped and threw its way to one of the best Waterloo County Secondary Schools Athletic Association meets in the school’s 75 year history.

Elmira District Secondary School Grade 11 student Emily Willms competed in the javelin at the Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association meet May 13 at Jacob Hespeler Secondary School. Willms’ best throw was 27.95 metres, good for  a seventh-place finish. [Scott Barber / The Observer]
Elmira District Secondary School Grade 11 student Emily Willms competed in the javelin at the Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association meet May 13 at Jacob Hespeler Secondary School. Willms’ best throw was 27.95 metres, good for a seventh-place finish. [Scott Barber / The Observer]
Sixteen athletes qualified for the Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association (CWOSSA) competition, six school records were broken and one new WCSSAA mark was set on May 13-14 at Jacob Hespeler Secondary School.

Coach Lisa Douglas was thrilled with the team’s performance.

“To break that many records, that is very rare,” she said. “For them to break any record is phenomenal in and of itself, but to have that many broken at one meet, is outstanding. When you consider the history of the school, over 75 years, it really is remarkable what they accomplished.”

The strong finishes were all across the board in a wide range of sports.

The boys 4 x 100-metre relay team of Owen Read, John Slomka, Jared Wallis and Ben Bishop placed fourth; Mike DeVries and Emily Yeung both finished fourth in the shot put; Nadie Dinglestad came fourth in the long jump; Micah Verway earned the bronze in the 800-metre race; Dexter Roth leaped to a bronze in the high jump, Morgan Douglas placed third in the shot put; Emily Willms threw for a second place finish in the javelin; and Ben Bishop was second in the long jump.

Natalie Mayer broke the EDSS midget girls discus record and placed third and also earned the silver medal in the javelin.

Savannah Campbell smashed the EDSS record en route to a gold medal in junior girls 400-metre race. She also grabbed the silver in the 300-metre hurdles, earning her enough points to finish second overall amongst junior girls at the meet.

Owen Read sprinted to a new EDSS record in the 300-metre hurdles, placing second in the race. He also won the 100- and 200-metre races and was named the junior boys overall champion.

Finally, Nathaniel Mechler shined in all three of his events, breaking the EDSS records in the 110-metre hurdles, where he finished second, the pole vault, where he earned the gold, and the 400 metres, where he broke the WCSSA record. Mechler was also named senior boys overall champion for the competition.

“I was happy with the way things went,” Mechler said. “I’m just trying to get back in the rythym of things and get some experience in events I haven’t done before.”

A decathelete with the First Attempts Jumps Academy outside of school, Mechler came into the 2015 high school track and field season looking to gain competitive experience in a number of new events.

He’s pleased with his progress so far.

“I just started pole vaulting this year and (WCSSAA) was just my second outdoor pole vault competition,” he said. “It’s new for me, but at the same time I find it really natural. It’s really fun; it’s my favourite event in the decathalon.”

On the track front, Mechler says he hadn’t competed in a 400-metre race in over a year. Clearly, rust wasn’t a factor, as he set a new personal best, and the WCSSAA record, with a time of 48.56 to easily win the gold.

While the top finishes and the records are great, for Douglas, she’s just focused on helping her team improve and do their best.

“I always hope that our kids can get personal bests,” she said. “It’s about improving their own performance and doing better. Qualifying for regionals (CWOSSA) is a wonderful opportunity, and making it onto the OFSSA West meet down in  London, and getting a chance to go up against even better competition is really an amazing opportunity for them. But the personal best thing is really always the goal from my perspective.”

The team was back in action May 20-21 at Jacob Hespeler Secondary School, looking to earn spots at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations West meet May 29-30 at Western University in London.

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