It’s a long way to the top in the world of track and field, and yet no less crowded as the trek to get there, as hundreds of athletes from schools across Ontario converged on the University of Guelph last weekend for the provincial championships.
Amongst the many runners, jumpers and throwers to compete in more than 100 events over the four days, just three came from Elmira.
Grade 9 students Abbygail Byers, Jamie Crawford and Kieran Stewart were the lone contingent from EDSS to compete against the province’s elite. Though the trio didn’t pick up any hardware this time around, they have at least another three years of high school to try again.
Byers qualified in all three of her events at the track and field regionals earlier this month. In the women’s 100-metre dash midget at OFSAA, Byers claimed the fifth place spot at 12.42, a veritable hair’s breadth from the first place runner at 12.05.
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Excelling at bursting out the gate with a short, quick run, Byers struggled to keep up her advantage in the longer 200-metre race, falling to 10th place out of 23 women in the preliminaries. The long jump saw Byers rank 16th out of 23 scores, at 4.69-m – or a full metre from the top spot at 5.63-m.
Jamie Crawford of EDSS came into the provincial championship having qualified in two of his three field events. A basketball player, Crawford found a match for his skills on the court in the jumping events, competing in both the midget long jump and triple jump.
The long jump saw Crawford leap 5.54-m, putting him just under a metre short of the first place winner and claim the 15th place spot.
The triple jump was where Crawford really shone. Requiring not a single jump, but rather first a hop, then a skip before a final jump, Crawford bounded to sixth place out of 24 with a distance of 12.37-m – about a metre behind the first place jumper at 13.64-m.
Finally, Kieran Stewart competed in the 3000-metre women’s race. Opting for endurance over Byers’ pure speed, Stewart ultimately came in 17th place, clocking in her run at 11:13 compared with first place at 10:20.
The season over, the young EDSS athletes are returning from the OFSAA championships as provincial track and field athletes. It’s a long way to the top, but they’ve already gained some valuable experience en route.