The starter’s pistol sounded the start of the high school track and field season on Tuesday at Maple Ridge secondary, as the Ramblers hosted the Ram Icebreaker Meet for high school track teams in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
Most schools sent teams of about a dozen athletes, but the host Ramblers were everywhere.
Head coach Ken Elphick explained he has a large team of 80 athletes this year, and a busy calendar of meets.
A lot of their competition will be south of the border.
The Ramblers will be at the Bedlington Twilight Meet in Lynden, Washington on March 25, the Oregon Relays on April 15 in Eugene for the team’s first-ever trip there, and the Chehalis Activators Meet in Washington on April 22. The latter is unique in that it combines high school and college athletes in one event.
They will also compete at meets in Kamloops and Coquitlam, and host their own annual Nick Wilkes meet on April 13.
“It’s the busiest track schedule I’ve ever had,” said Elphick. “It’ll be a great year.”
The Rambler girls won the Fraser Valleys last year, and the team returns many of its top athletes, including distance runner Mikayla Tinkham, who has signed to run for UBC next year. She took silvers in both the 1,500 and 3,000m races last year at the Fraser Valleys.
Jamie Hennessey took bronze in both of those events as a junior last year, and enters her Grade 11 year with a lot of promise.
Sprinter Abisayo Ajibike enters her Grade 12 year looking for a podium finish at the provincials, after finishing fifth in the 100m sprint last year.
Mateya Haintz, who is also a Ramblers wrestler, is throwing some hammer distances that will put her among the best in the province, and is just in Grade 9.
“We’ll probably do well again this year,” said Elphick, looking at the long list of talented athletes his team has.
The Icebreaker was an introductory meet, where some of the senior athletes did not compete, but rather helped the beginners with proper techniques in the sprint blocks, or how not to fault when throwing the shot put.
They are now training five days a week to get ready for the coming season, which will culminate in the B.C. High School Track Championships on June 2-4 in Nanaimo.
Highlights from the Icebreaker
In the girls 100m race Alina Olson of MRSS was the top Grade 8, Meaghan Christiansen of MRSS was the top Grade 9, and Julie Ydenberg of Pitt Meadows was the top senior.
In the boys 100m, MRSS won at all three age levels, with Aiden Smith at Grade 8-9, Cam Grout for junior and Nick Cowley for senior.
Marquesis Haintz, a grade 8, won the girls open 800m race, and Matt Liosis, a Grade 9, won the boys 800m.
In girls discus, Garibaldi’s Jesse Speiss won for Grade 8, and Alyssa Levy of MRSS won at the junior level. Grade 8 Simon Miyashita and senior Daniel Jo, both of MRSS, also won at discus.
Aaliya Howard of MRSS won the Grade 8 girls shot put.