| Jun 07, 2007

Feature Article - June 7, 2007

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Feature Article - June 7, 2007


by Jeff Green

The Sydenham High School track team has seen steady improvement over the past few years, and this year the overall quality of the team has improved to the point where 19 athletes have progressed through three competitions to qualify for the Ontario Federation of Secondary School Athletics Association (OFSSAA) competition in Ottawa this coming weekend.

Leslie Lawler supervises the interval training for the SHS track athletes throughout the winter and spring seasons, and describes herself as “kind of like a head coach, although there are coaches for the specific events.”

While the numbers that have reached OFSSAA this year are impressive, easily the highest for any school in the Limestone Board, Lawler’s interest in athletics is broader than training athletes for elite competitions.

“Track is one of those great events; in the end it’s about individual improvement, and everyone is welcome to participate in training and come out for the invitational meets we attend,” she said when contacted at the school earlier this week.

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Some training starts in January, but training begins in earnest when the second semester starts in early February. During the winter the athletes train in the school’s hallways, and in recent years the school has had a roll-up runway available to put down over the floors for the hurdlers.

“It cuts way down on shin splints,” says Lawler.

In the spring, the students avail themselves of the gravel track at the Point.

“None of the schools in our district have a lot in the way of facilities, but we make do. Mind you, a lot of the schools we compete against are located in larger cities that have really good facilities.”

In order to qualify for OFSSAA, athletes had to excel at the County meet (KASSAA), the Eastern Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association meet (EOSSAA), which encompasses students from eastern Ontario excluding Ottawa, and then finish in the top four at the Eastern regional meet, against athletes from Oshawa through to the Ontario-Quebec border, including the City of Ottawa.

There are six regions represented at OFSSAA, so there are 24 athletes in each event.

The qualifying results have been posted on line, so the Sydenham athletes have a sense of where their qualifying times stand in relation to the other athletes who will be competing in Ottawa.

“We do have a few athletes that are seeded very highly, but the goal we have is for athletes to accomplish seasonal bests at the Ottawa meet rather than worrying about their placing. That in itself can be difficult, because of the size of the event and the amazing quality of some of the athletes that will be there. Some of them are going to be at the Olympic level,” said Lawler.

This point is driven home by looking at the OFSSAA website, where the competitors for this year’s event are listed. At the top of each list are the names of the OFSSAA record holder in each meet. Names like Kevin Sullivan from 1989 and Angela Taylor from 1980 are prominent.

Among the seedings of SHS athletes, Morgan Young in the midget division (grade 9) is ranked 3rd in the 200 metre dash with a qualifying time of 26.09, only 0.09 seconds behind the top seed. Morgan Young is also competing in the 300 metre hurdles, seeded 6th with a time of 47.31, and in the long jump, where she is ranked 15th with a jump of 4.80 metres.

Hadley Rombough, also in the midget division, is ranked 14th in the shot put with a put of 9.12 metres, and 5th in the Javelin at 29.63 metres.

Among boys in the midget division, Matt Henson is ranked 22nd in the 100 metre hurdles with a time of 15.87, while Josh Thompson is ranked 7th in the same distance with a time of 15.02. Thompson will also race the 300 metre hurdles, where he is ranked 14th at 44.40 seconds.

Matt Fouzie is a serious contender in the 300 metre hurdles, where he is ranked 5th at 43.04. Fouzie is also ranked 10th in the 400 metre dash at 52.50. Kieran Doyle also runs the 400. He is ranked 15th with a time of 54.59. Doyle will also run the 800, where he is ranked 18th at 2:07:21.

Nate Hickey will run the 200 metres, where he is ranked 14th with a time of 24.12.

Nate Hickey, Kieran Doyle, Matt Fouzie and Josh Thompson will also join forces for the men’s 4x100 metre relay, where although they are ranked 11th with a time of 47.08, they are in a tight field. The topped ranked team is only 0.8 seconds faster than them.

In the Junior (grade 10) division, Julie Sleeth is the top ranked shot putter at 11.45 metres, and the 2nd ranked in the discus at 32,47 metres, .07 metres less than the top ranked athlete. The 4x100 metre relay team of Mallory Hart, Shannon Walsh, Lyndsay Glass, and Sydney Midwood is ranked 11th in the province with a time of 52.08.

Adam Stroud is the lone Junior male athlete from Sydenham in the competition, qualifying 15th in shot put at 13.91 metres.

Among Senior athletes (grades 11 and 12) Allison Devlin will run out of the 15th seed in the 800 metres with a qualifying time of 2:21:44. Chelsea Keeley qualified 13th in the shot put at 10.25 metres, and 19th in the discus 30.78 metres.

Luke Clow is ranked 11th in the 110 metre hurdles with a time of 14.91, and 15th in the 400 metre dash at 57.78.

The Senior men’s 4x400 metre relay team of Luke Clow, Tom Howes, Dave Mcginn, and Mike Bird ran a time of 3:31.24 and are ranked 18th in the competition.

Kragiozov carries the banner for Sharbot Lake: Evan Karagiozov credits a chiropractic treatment a few days before the qualifying tournament with giving him the flexibility he needed to increase his distance by over 3 metres. He will represent SLHS at OFSSAA, qualifying as the 11th ranked in the Senior men’s discus at 44.85 metres.

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