AO U14/16/18 track and field

 Three champions lead local track club


   St. Thomas Legion's Lexi Stanat, Michael Roth and the U18 women's medley relay

   team win gold, at Athletics Ontario U14/16/18 track and field championships

Monday, August 5, 2019


relay team    St. Thomas Legion's U18 girls medley relay team, of Hallee Knelsen, left, Kyra Vellinga, Tayah DeSousa, Earen Klassen, won gold in a meet record time, at the Athletics Ontario U14/16/18 outdoor track and field championships, in Windsor.  (photo / courtesy of Knelsen family)

By Rob J. Ross 

Three provincial champions led an impressive meet for the St. Thomas Legion track and field club.

Michael Roth, Lexi Stanat and the U18 women's 1600-metre medley relay race team captured gold at the Athletics Ontario U14/U16/U18 outdoor track and field championships, August 2-4.

St. Thomas athletes brought home 15 medals, with another five results in the top five. There were 31 total top 10 performances, over the three day meet at Windsor Stadium.

The relay team of Kyra Vellinga, Tayah DeSousa, Earen Klassen and Hallee Knelsen, won by nearly seven seconds, in a meet record time of 4:06.68, breaking the old time of 4:09.64, set by Laurel Creek, in 1991.

The four legs were 400, 200, 200 and 800 metres.

Knelsen ran her 800-metre leg in 2:10.2, lifting the team from third to first, just three hours after placing third in the U18 girls' 800-metre race, in a personal best (PB) time of 2:09.54.

"I was confident I was faster than the other two girls ahead of me. My only concern was if I would have enough energy," said Knelsen. "I closed the gap quickly and from there I was confident we had it, but breaking the record never crossed my mind."

Lexi Stanat    Lexi Stanat took home gold in U14 javelin and silver in shot put and discus, at the Athletics Ontario U14/16/18 outdoor track and field championships, in Windsor.  (photo / courtesy of Stanat family)

All four relay members are 16 years old.

Knelsen went home with a medal of each colour, finishing second in the U18 1500 metre run (4:36.64) and third, in the 800-metre run (2:09.54), personal best times in both events. She knocked off seven seconds from her previous best time in the 1500.

The Aylmer native felt really good about her 1500, adding for both races she "was hoping for PBs but definitely wasn't expecting ones this big."

Chatham's Emma Pegg won both the 1500 (4:36.37) and 800m (2:08.25). Pickering's Cassandra Williamson, a year older than both Knelsen and Pegg was second in the 800 (2:08.67). The rest of the 800 field was at least seven seconds behind.

Lexi Stanat won the U14 girls' javelin by five metres (29.86m) and placed second in both shot put (10.24m) and discus (37.37m), behind champion Julia Tunks.

"I thought I threw well, said Stanat, who set PB distances in all three events.  "I've been practicing more and that has been helping because I have better technique and I know how to get through (an event) physically and mentally."

Her distance in discus was almost nine metres further from a year ago, when she set the meet U13 record at 28.71 metres.

"I did well on my release and how I threw the discus," said Stanat, a Grade eight student at Mitchell Hepburn school. "I improved a lot since last year."

Her season complete, Stanat will continue practising, but will also focus on hockey, her first year playing with the London Devilettes' AA bantam team, after changing from boys' hockey and Mustangs school sports (soccer, basketball, cross country).

The only competitor to beat Stanat has a well known father in Canadian track and field. Jason Tunks is a three-time Olympian who competed in discus and shot put.

Lexi's dad, Alex Stanat, represented Canada, placing sixth in discus at the 1991 Pan Am Games and 12th at the 1994 Commonwealth Games.

Roth won the U18 men's 400 metre run in 48.9 seconds. The Parkside C.I. student also placed third in the 200 metre dash (22.24 sec.) and fourth in the 100 dash (11.12 sec.).

Hallee Knelsen    Hallee Knelsen holds a medal of each colour, gold in the U18 medley relay, silver in the U18 1500 metres and bronze in the U18 800 metres, from the Athletics Ontario U14/16/18 outdoor track and field championships, in Windsor.  (photo / courtesy of Knelsen family)

AJ Stanat, competing up an age division, had impressive results, placing third, in U18 boys shot put (14.62m), sixth in both discus (43.57m) and hammer throw (41.78m).

Mason Basson placed second, in the U16 boys' 1200 metre run (3:18.03), behind meet record finish 3:07.1, by Oakville's Riley Flemington, and third, in the 800 metres (1:59.54).

Tayah DeSousa was second in the U18 girls 100m hurdles (14.22 sec.).

Other St. Thomas Legion results: Claireese Coffey, third, U16 girls LJ (4.59m); seventh, javelin (16.38m), eighth, triple jump (10.24m); Justin Cole, third, U18 boys' 2K steeplechase (7:19.00); 22nd, 3000m (10:30.57); Vincent Moore, fourth, U16 boys 1200 (3:22.21); ninth, 800m (2:05.15); Jared Parkin, fourth, U18 boys shot (14.28m); Lily Francis, fifth, U18 long jump (4.60m), 13th, high jump (1.35m); Basson, Gray, Moore, Harrison Belanger, U18 boys 1600 sprint medley, fifth (3:53.38); Ethan Zwicker, sixth, U14 boys 80m dash (11.30 sec.); Harrison Belanger, seventh, U16 boys 800m (2:03.61), 13th, 1200m (3:28.22); Kyra Vellinga, eighth, U18 girls 400m (59.93); Fox Gray, sixth, U16 boys 100m (11.56 sec.), ninth, 300m dash (38.15 sec.), 15th, 200m (24.01); U18 girls 4x100-metre relay team of Vellinga, DeSousa, Francis, Klassen, eighth (51.66 sec.); Cerena Aitken, eighth, U16 girls 2000m (7:11.81), 12th, 1200m (4:08.95); Claire Craig, 13th, U18 girls 3000m (12:15.84); Joshua McCandless, 20th, U18 boys long jump (4.87m); Ryan Jeffrey, 21st, U16 boys 300m dash (42.62).


Thorndale's Luna takes gold in U16 long jump 

Jadyn Luna, of Thorndale, competing with London-Western club, won the U16 girls' long jump. Luna also placed sixth in javelin (23.49m) and 10th, in the 200-metre hurdles (30.74 sec.).

Coles wins U16 2000 metre run

Aiden Coles, of St. Thomas, with London Legion, won the U16 boys 2000 metre race (6:03.09), by three seconds over Saugeen's Tristan Bouius. Aiden finished 16th, running up a division, in the U18 boys 1500 metres (4:12.31).

Tristan Coles finished seventh, in the U16 boys 2000 metres (6:15.31) and ninth, in the 1200 metres (3:24.93).