High humidity and stiff competition eliminated all but one of the EDSS track and field athletes at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) West meet last weekend in Cambridge.
John Wang finished in third place in the junior boys’ 3000-metre run with a time of 9:33.83. He’ll move on to OFSAA in Windsor this weekend.
Elmira District Secondary School track and field coach Lisa Douglas says they knew going into the competition it would be tough for the athletes to advance, requiring at least a fourth-place finish to attend the final meet of the season. She notes they’re excited for John to get through, especially since it was his first year competing.
“A few kids ran their personal bests, so they were happy and they realized it was a feat just to get there. I think they were an amazing group of kids. They worked hard. They wanted to listen and learn and they were a lot of fun this year. They were a really good team as well, so in terms of not just worried about their own events, but supporting each other, so it was an awesome year,” Douglas said.
Wang explains he ran cross country earlier in the school year and missed making it to OFSAA by one spot, so he was encouraged to give it a go in the track and field season. He says he’s drawn to long-distance running because he seems to excel at it.
“I did cross country and I did really well in that, and I’m best at long distance running compared to the other guys. We have a good year for long distance running, but I’m still pretty good compared to them,” Wang said.
He notes it wasn’t exactly a fun run due to the high humidity, which inconveniently broke after the race was over.
“It wasn’t my best race because of the weather and the screw up with the bell because they ran it three laps early, but it wasn’t bad. I still almost PR’d (set a personal best record), which was pretty good,” Wang said.
A bell is rung to let runners know when they’re on their last lap. He says by the time they rang the bell he knew he was going to finish in the top four.
“After they rang the bell for the first time, me and four other guys kicked, so that was when it really separated. You could tell that we were ahead by quite a bit,” Wang said.
In running, “kicking” refers to when runners step up their pace at the end of a race to sprint to the finish.
He guesses there was about 100 metres between fourth and fifth place. He expected the race to be much tighter than it was. The first-place runner had a time of 9:28.55.
Wang set his personal best record at the Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association meet with a time of 9:24.84. The OFSAA West record, set in 2001, is 8:35.46.
Prior to a race he finds someone to warm up with and then does the same basic warm-up he does for soccer. He didn’t train on Tuesday because he was participating in the EDSS Tinman Triathlon, but planned to go for a 15-kilometre-run on Thursday to prepare for OFSAA.
He ran the 5-km portion of the Tinman on Tuesday as part of a relay team and finished with by far the fastest time of the competitors, at 17:59, with a 3:36 minute pace per kilometre.
As for how he felt crossing the finish line in third on Saturday?
“Pretty sick, actually,” Wang said. “The last lap you could tell we were pretty set, so it was a good feeling for that last lap even though we were super tired because we sprinted for the last three laps, pretty much. So, pretty amazing.”