Local athletes medal at elite track meets

A handful of local athletes made their way to the podium last weekend at the Royal Canadian Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships in Ottawa, as well as at the Hershey’s Track and Field Games, in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Natalie Auersperg of Maple Ridge won bronze at the Hershey’s Track and Field Games

Natalie Auersperg of Maple Ridge won bronze at the Hershey’s Track and Field Games

A handful of local athletes made their way to the podium last weekend at the Royal Canadian Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships in Ottawa, as well as at the Hershey’s Track and Field Games, in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Maple Ridge’s Nathan Wadhwani picked up a silver and a bronze medal at the Canadian youth track finals. Wadhwani posted a time of 4:26.81 in the U-16 1,500-metre steeplechase event to finish in second place, as well as posting a personal best of 5:48.33 in the 2,000-metre run, good for third.

Jacob Karamanian, Wadhwani’s teammate on the Golden Ears Athletic track and field club, finished in fifth place in the U-18 octathalon, with a first-place finish in the high jump event.

Olivia Moriconi of the Ridge Rockets track and field club finished second in the U-16 hammer throw, as well as fourth in discus and eighth in shot put.

Golden Ears Athletics head coach Andrew Lenton said the local club hopes to send triple the number of athletes to the national competition next year.

“There’s a lot of talent here,” he said. “I think this is a sign of great things to come.”

That local talent was on display at the Hershey’s Track and Field Games, as three of the five B.C. athletes competing in the event were from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

More than 400,000 kids between the ages of nine and 14 compete in Hershey qualifying meets all over North America. 500 winners are selected to a regional team, who receive an all-expenses paid trip to compete at the North American Final in Hershey.

Natalie Auersperg won bronze leading the way for local competitors at the annual North American meet. Auersperg finished third in the girls’ U-15 200-metre dash with a time of 26.94. Auersperg has the potential to make the national junior team if she continues to trains hard, according to Lenton.

“I think she was well-prepared for the meet, that’s why she was successful,” he said. “To become a scholarship athlete is in her future if she continues to work hard and apply herself.”

Cade Cote of Maple Ridge finished seventh in the boys’ U-11 100-metre dash, while Reid Muller of Pitt Meadows finished eighth in the boys’ U-15 800-metre run.

“This was the first time any of them travelled outside of B.C. for a meet, so I think the heat and humidity came as a bit of a shock,” said Lenton. “It was a great experience for them to meet other athletes from all over North America.”