While the EDSS track and field team has been tearing it up this season, their younger counterparts at the elementary level picked up more than a few wins of their own at the county finals last week. Competing in the region-wide track competition at Cambridge’s Jacob Hespeler Secondary School over the weekend, several of the township’s primary school students came through with a podium finish.
Amongst the many students to emerge with the gold, silver or bronze were several from the public schools in Wellesley, Conestogo, Breslau and Elmira’s Park Manor.
For the gold medalist in the U13 400-metre dash, Breslau PS student Chanithi Bandaranayake, winning at the county’s was just one more step in the runner’s ambitions. The student moved prodigiously over the course of the season from her division through to place first in the regionals, which eventually led to her first-place finish at the county finals.
Moreover, last year, the Breslau runner competed at the 2017 Athletics Ontario Bantam Midget Youth Championships, and placed first in the 4×100-metre relay event. Claiming a gold at the provincials, Bandaranayake has now set her sights even higher on qualifying for the nationals.
“We got gold in that at provincials,” she explained. “But for nationals, you can’t go unless you qualify.”
This year, Bandaranayake is trying for the 300-metre solo run at nationals, which requires her to run a best of 43.50 seconds. Whether she’ll be able to achieve that number, Bandaranayake admits she hasn’t attempted it.
“I’m not really sure, we haven’t run one yet,” she says. “My 200-(metre) is around 27 seconds.”
Whether the young athlete will qualify for the nationals will be determined in the coming weeks.
“I would like to go to nationals and maybe win a medal there, but I don’t know,” she said.
Bandaranayake will be heading to high school next year, and says she is definitely committed to her athleticism on the track field.
“I’m so proud of her,” added her mother Chathurika Tennakoon. “I thought that she deserved it. She practices a lot … and I want to see that she goes to nationals.”
From Wellesley PS, Mia Thompson took home the silver in the girls’ 800-metre 12-year-olds. From Conestogo, Abby Byers placed first in the 13-year-old 200-metre dash and long jump; Chris Melvin won the U12 boys’ triple jump; and Thomas Martinez claimed the U14 boys shot put.
Out of Park Manor were gold-medalists Haylee Clemmer and Jamie Crawford; silver-medalists Morgan Fleet, Liam Eveleigh; and bronze winners Kieran Stewart and Jamie Crawford again. St. Jacobs fielded gold winner Zachary Brown in the boys U13 shot put. And out representing Breslau was first-place Chanithi Bandaranayake and bronze winner in the Joseph Nesrallah.