By Justin Prince
Note: This story was originally published on OurWindsor.ca.
Officials are calling this year’s OFSAA Track and Field Championship a success after a competitive final day of events.
Thousands of spectators packed into Alumni Field and the Dennis Fairall Fieldhouse complex to see multiple close and emotional finishes in throughout today’s track festivities.
In the Midget Boys 800-Metre finals, Saint Francis Catholic Secondary School’s Nicholas Young was able to edge out Tristin Rowe from Birchmount Park Collegiate Institute for a gold medal in what was a photo finish. Young had won by just 3/100ths of a second, according to Windsor Timing.
The Senior Girls 3,000-Metre Run also had a dramatic finish after Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School’s Branna MacDougall, who placed second, held onto gold medalist Christiane Konstantopoul’s back while trying to regain her breath just steps after crossing the finish line. MacDougall, who lost to Konstantopoul by 4/25ths of a second, then poured a bottle of water on her competitor to help her rehydrate while celebrating which each other.
Meanwhile, in the Junior Girls 300-Metre Hurdles, W.F. Herman Secondary School’s Taneidra Cain beat Huron Heights Secondary School’s Tyra Boug by three-tenths of a second for the win. Cain had originally finished second in the finals, but Sharelle Samuel from Ashbury College was disqualified after the race.
“I was ranked second heading into my final, so I was expecting a silver medal, but God came through for me and gave me the burst I needed, so I feel amazing,” said Cain, who won her first official medal. She also competed in the 400-Metre and 4x100-Metre Relay races. “This season has been so amazing. It’s been probably the best ever … I’m beyond happy.”
Another Windsor-Essex County student-athlete, Sandwich Secondary School’s Karlie Moore, also had a successful day after having some up and downs this week. Moore won a bronze medal in the Midget Girls 300-Metre Hurdles in another close finish. Before getting her first career medal, she had finished sixth in the Midget Girls 80-Metre Hurdles yesterday. She was also a part of Sandwich’s Midget Girls 4x100-Metre relay team on Thursday which was disqualified after they dropped their baton during the first exchange.
“My goal was to get at least one medal while I was here,” said Moore, who lost by 9/50ths of a second. “Coming around that (last) corner, I was like, ‘It’s okay, it’s the last race of the season. I got to give it all I got.’ So I did and I went for it … I saw my competitors ahead of me and I was thinking, ‘I have a chance for maybe gold or silver.’ So, I tried (to get either), but the finish was so close.”
Last year, she had broken the Greater Essex County District School Board 200-metre record for 13-year-old girls while attending LaSalle Public School with a time of 27.11. She had also qualified for the midget-level equivalent for that event, but did not compete because that race would have started 15 minutes after her hurdles sprint. Moore will also be competing at the Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships in Quebec this summer.
Moore said she loved competing in secondary school much more compared to elementary school.
“I couldn’t be happier with how (the first season) ended,” said Moore.
This year’s championships also saw multiple broken records. Overall, more than 15 OFSAA and four Canadian interscholastic records were beaten throughout the three-day event. Gary Malloy, a meet director for the festivities, believed it was partly because of the facility where the competitions were held this year.
“That’s just a testament to the facility here. It is a fast facility and a really good facility for field events as well,” said Malloy after the final event. “We also had great weather and we got the best athletes in the province, so with all of those factors, records will be broken.”
One of the student-athletes who broke an OFSAA record was Liam Foudy, who was drafted in the first round by the London Knights in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection in April. The Neil McNeil High School athlete ran a 37.86 to win gold in the Junior Boys 400-Metre Hurdles, breaking the previous record by 11/100ths of a second. The next-closest finisher was more than a second behind Foudy’s time. It was also his second win this year after he won the Junior Boys 100-Metre Hurdles yesterday.
He noted that with Knights training camp starting in August, this was most likely the last track event he will ever compete in.
“It’s pretty special,” said Foudy. “I’ve been training all year for it and it’s great when it comes to winning it, especially when it’s a record time.”
Malloy noted the earliest Windsor can bid to host the event in the future will be in 2022. All six of OFSAA’s regions rotate the location of the championships with each one having multiple possible host sites. Alumni Field will also be hosting the Athletics Ontario Outdoor Bantam-Midget-Youth Championships this July.
To see the full results of all of this week’s OFSAA track and field events, go to www.windsortiming.com.