OFSAA Track and Field Championships kick off in Windsor
By Justin Prince
Note: This story was originally published on OurWindsor.ca.
After months of preparations, more than 2,300 of Ontario’s top high school track and field student-athletes have descended on Windsor for this year’s provincial championships.
The 2016 OFSAA Track and Field Championships, which are being hosted at the University of Windsor’s Alumni Field, kicked off on June 2. Thousands of competitors, family members, fans and coaches packed into the main grandstand and the surrounding hills to watch the first of three days’ worth of events.
OFSAA Track and Field, which is the largest high school sporting event in Canada and the third-largest in North America, also attracted college and post-secondary school coaches from both sides of the border. Some of the schools and coaches in attendance included University of Michigan track coach Kevin Sullivan and the University of Western Ontario Mustangs.
LaSalle’s Sandwich Secondary School, which is coming off of an overall team OFSAA championship in 2015, is looking to continue its success close to home. This year, the Sabres have 33 student-athletes competing in events – the most from any school in the competition. Of those, only two of them are graduating in June, according to Sandwich head coach Robert Moore.
Aiden Allen, who was the only student-athlete from Sandwich to compete today, started their campaign with a silver medal in the Midget Boys Pole Vault.
“I’m very happy for the kids. They’ve worked hard this year,” said Moore, who has coached at Sandwich for 16 years. “I think we have a good program building up here with the coaches and that the sky’s the limit.”
Meanwhile, Amherstburg’s General Amherst High School had a good start to its OFSAA campaign. In the field events, the Bulldogs’ Abbey Gibbs finished third in the Midget Girls Long Jump competition.
On the track side, 18-year-old Lance Tofflemire was able to edge out Preston High School’s Caleb Main to win his qualifying heat in the 2,000 Meter Steeplechase. The Grade 12 student-athlete had been in second with a lap to go before taking the lead in the final stretch. Tofflemire, who is competing in his first OFSAA competition in his secondary school career, finished second in the preliminary races overall.
“It feels amazing,” said Tofflemire moments after the semifinal. “I’m so happy to have this chance.”
Tofflemire, who credits his coaches for his progression and success, said he had put in a lot of effort to get this far.
“He had a very strong season,” said Lisa Voakes, a coach for General Amherst. “He has trained very hard every day for the past four years, so he has deserved (to be here).”
The OFSAA Track and Field Championships will continue at 9 a.m. For the full results and event lineups, visithttp://www.windsortiming.com/LiveResults/2016/OFSAA/index.php?Day=TeamScores.