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Athletes track down success at Valleys

More than a dozen of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows students qualify for June’s provincials

There were personal bests and quality results across the board for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows athletes at last week’s Fraser Valley High School Track and Field championships.

More than a dozen students qualified for the provincial championships at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park on from June 1 to 3. After the dust settled, Maple Ridge secondary’s Mateya Haintz won an individual aggregate award, winning the junior girls hammer throw and discus throw while finishing third in shot put.

Maple Ridge Secondary’s Ken Elphick said he thought the MRSS team performed pretty close to the expectations he had for the team going in. They had strong performances both individually and as a group in the relay races.

“A lot of kids across the district had their best performances,” Elphick said. “Even some of the kids who didn’t qualify, we had a few kids finish ninth, but they got their personal bests and we still had lots of kids qualify for B.C.’s.”

He said at provincials, it doesn’t depend so much on having a large contingent of athletes, but how well those athletes do at individual events. And because the Fraser Valley is such a high-level event, many kids tend to have their best performances at B.C.’s.

“The Fraser Valley is such an amazingly strong zone, that if you come out of there and you’re in the top four or five, you’re probably going to make the finals,” he said.

Elphick knows they’ll still have stiff competition though, particularly from Oak Bay in Victoria, who recently won their 25th team championship at the Island high school track meet in a row.

Under the guidance of coaches Ivor Day and Matthew Mikes, the small but dedicated Pitt Meadows track team will also send at least eight athletes to the high school provincial championships.

The team has developed the entire season and did well in races in Oregon and Kamloops leading up to the Fraser Valley event.

Liam Foster is the Fraser Valley champion in the 1,500m after racing a tough 3000m race. He settled in at 4:06.11 in the 1,500m, shaving five seconds off his seeded time from the Upper Fraser Valley championships. He barely finished behind Earl Marriott’s Sajjan Sarai in the 800m and finished tenth in the 3000m, crossing the line at 9:26.28.

He held off a spirited finish from Earl Marriott’s Dawson Ribeiro in the 800m, crossing the line not even a second before Ribeiro. Maple Ridge’s Alexander Ross finished in 13th with a respectable time of 4:21.73.

After a dominant performance in the Upper Fraser Valley’s, Aaryanna Kurucz faced tough competition in the form of friend and teammate Jasneet Nijjar from Surrey’s Queen Elizabeth Secondary, as well as Earl Marriott’s Jorden Hall. She fell just short in all of her track events, and had a tough time breaking down Nijjar’s quick starts and Hall’s consistency throughout each event.

She finished third behind Nijjar and Hall in the 100m dash, finishing at 12.90 seconds. In the 200m, the three girls finished in what was practically a dead heat, finishing only tenth of seconds apart from each other, with Kurucz claiming silver. In the 400m, Kurucz took bronze with a 59.48 time.

“It was Aaryanna’s best time this year [in the 200m] and almost her best time time ever,” Elphick said.

“But the Nijjar girl is just one of the best in Canada. Any other year she would’ve cleaned house in that race.”

Elphick said performances during the first couple days were hampered by the cold and rain. On Thursday, the sun finally peeked out from the clouds, creating much favourable conditions for runners on the track.

Other notable performances from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows students included Thomas Haney’s Madelyn Huston winning both the 800m and 1,500m senior girls finals. Maple Ridge’s Jorrin Lenton almost won an individual aggregate award after finishing third in both the 400m dash and 400m hurdles.

Pitt’s Sierrah Burrows was second in junior girl’s high jump, finishing with a personal best 5.03m in the finals.

Maple Ridge’s senior girls 4x100 relay team won gold, upending Lord Tweedsmuir by almost a full second. They also just missed out on winning the 4x400m, finishing fourth. The grade eight boys relay team came second in their own 4x400m relay, narrowly losing to Walnut Grove.