The EDSS track and field team headed to Jacob Hespeler Secondary School in Cambridge last week for the annual Track Wars event. Competing against some 52 schools, and 2,000 athletes, from the region and beyond, the small EDSS contingent certainly held their own.
“Some years we have a slightly bigger team, but this year it’s a very committed team,” said Janice Harper, EDSS teacher and coach.
It’s a far cry from where the team had been at the start of season, explains Harper, not because of the athletes participation, but because of staff turnover at the school. There simply weren’t enough staff members left available to keep the EDSS track and field team running. Fortunately, though, some of the senior student members of the team stepped up to help keep it going.
“The team was going to fold this year but we kept it alive,” said Harper. The students volunteered to coach and mentor their peers to keep the team going this season.
“It’s a lot harder than I thought,” admits Lizzy Klosa, one of the senior students coaching the team, with a laugh. “Just coming up with workouts and stuff to do.”
“I used to coach basketball but the kids were a lot younger. So it’s pretty cool when the people on you team are the same age as you, or just like a year younger,” adds Paul Cento of the experience. “Because it’s more like you’re a part of the team then just trying to tell other people what to do.”
The EDSS team made some significant strides at this year’s Track Wars. Standouts included the likes of Elmira runner Owen Read, another senior volunteering his time to coach the team, who placed second in the senior boys’ 100-metre dash. Read’s qualified for the OFSSA thrice before, two times for the 100m race, and the three times for the 200.
“It’s a long road going all the way through all three of the other meets, and then having to run well in every single one in order to make it,” he says, adding that he was hoping to make it again to OFSSA this year.
In the girls 300-metre dash Lizzy Klosa took the bronze medal. John Wang was another bronze medal winner for the local high school in the boys’ 2km steeplechase open.
EDSS also fielded a fifth place winner, Colby Van Bargen, in the boys’ junior discus throw. In the boys’ high jump Connor Cortes took the silver medal, and claimed the bronze in the triple jump midget. The senior EDSS girls’ relay team, meanwhile, claimed the fifth spot out of 28 competing teams.
The Track Wars event was just the prelude to the WCSSA competition being held May 16 at Jacob Hespeler. From there, the cream of the crop will rise to the top to compete at the CWOSSA event in Cambridge, and from there only the most elite will move on to the provincial OFSSA games.