St. Joe's brothers Aiden and Tristan Coles and Dylen and Harrison Belanger,
finish high school careers standing with OFSAA track and field medals
June 6, 2022
By Rob J. Ross
TORONTO, Ont. - Two pairs of twins concluded incredible high school careers together on the podium.
Tristan and Aiden Coles and Dylen and Harrison Belanger, won the senior men's team title, for the St. Joseph's Rams, on day three, of the OFSAA track and field championship, June 4, at York University.
The twins combined to bring home seven medals, three silver and three bronze, from the high school provincial meet.
That gave St. Joe's the senior men's title and a share of the overall men's team title, with Sandwich seconday, from LaSalle.
"We were ecstatic," said Aiden. "That moment right there, hearing that we won the overall boys and senior boys' titles. Two sets of brothers, who have known each other since Grade four, best friends, is a pretty good feeling. I wouldn't have picked three better guys to be up there with."
The four friends capped their final high school meet, winning silver, in the open men's 4x400-metre relay, in three minutes and 26.17 seconds (3:26.17), edged at the finish line by Guelph Collegiate, in 3:26.02.
"It came down to the home straight, me and the guy from Guelph," Aiden said. "Both kind of dying. I took myself to some deep waters and we were swimming in the last 100 metres. He ended up outleaning me at the line."
Disappointed he couldn't grab gold for his three teammates in their final race, Aiden was cheered up when hearing the Rams won the team award.
"Maybe a little disappointing ending to the 4x4. I felt I let the team down," Aiden said. "I was balling my eyes out, but not in disappointment of me losing, but more the fact it was our last high school race."
The brothers first crossed paths eight years ago competing in elementary school races, the Coles at Elgin Court, and the Belangers, at Mitchell Hepburn. By Grade seven, the four had formed a friendship.
"Us four guys did what we went to St. Joe's to do," Aiden said. "Represent the school in the best way possible and enjoy our time there."
The Belangers ran the first half of the relay race.
"I felt like I ran my heart out in the 4x400 relay knowing it was my last high school race, so I'm glad how things turned out," said Dylen, who was the Rams' lead runner. "The relay turned from something we decided to do for fun, to something bigger, so I'm glad we were able to bring home silver."
Dylen handed to Harrison, who then watched the Coles take over the second half of the 1600-metre distance.
"I think I ran my fastest split ever in a 4x400, so that was exciting," said Harrison, who had a late start training for the season, due to injury. "Watching Aiden was definitely nerve wracking. It all happened so fast though. I don't remember much else in the moment."
Harrison had his most memorable race.
"I would definitely say this is my career highlight," said Harrison. "OFSAA is the highest level of high school competition and for us to get second in the relay, in addition to our team titles, was very rewarding."
Earlier on day three, Aiden won a silver (8:26.88) and Tristan bronze (8:27.06), in the senior men's 3000 metres, behind their training partner at London-Western, Heath McAllister (8:14.36).
"In the 3K, Heath just ran away from us, right from the gun," said Aiden, who took a bronze medal in the race, as a novice, in 2019.
Aiden brought home three silver medals, from the 4x4, 3000 and the 1500 metres, won on day two.
"I'm happy and proud of myself," Aiden said. "Definitely not anything to hang my head over."
Dylen Belanger won a bronze medal, in the senior men's 400-metre hurdles (55.30 seconds).
"It was definitely a good feeling coming home with medals and I'm glad I at least had the opportunity to compete at OFSAA once before graduating," said Dylen, who missed his Grade nine year due to injury, before COVID wiped out his Grade 10 and 11 seasons.
On day two Friday, Dylen set a PB of 14.33 seconds, in the 110-metre hurdle heats, with the second fastest qualifying time, but finished seventh in the final (14.77 sec.).
"I was definitely disappointed with how the 110m hurdles turned out," Dylen said. "Considering I ran pretty well in the prelims, I knew I had potential to do well in the final. At the end of the day, it was nice to redeem myself in the other two events and I'd gladly say that it made up for what happened on Friday."
In 2019, the Coles and Belangers, led St. Joe's to the junior boys team title, at OFSAA cross country.
The Coles are heading to Iona College, a NCAA Division One school in New York State, while the Belangers will both be at Western University.
This summer, the Coles and Harrison, will be competing for London-Western club and Dylen, with St. Thomas Legion.
Discus bronze for Rollins
Six other athletes competed on the third and final day of OFSAA.
Parkside Stampeder Merrick Rollins won a bronze, in novice men's distance (44.57 metres). A day earlier, Rollins finished fourth in javelin.
"I had a great time in competition with the other competitors," Rollins said. "It was an awesome experience and I can't wait to see everyone again next year."
Parkside's Mason Basson lowered his school record to 1:55.16, finishing sixth, in the senior men's 800-metre run.
"The 800 definitely could have went better for me. I did not have my best race," said Basson. "That's ok though. You can't always have your best race and I will learn from it."
Basson, who trains with St. Thomas Legion Club, was eying the podium.
"This was a very important race to me," Basson said. "My last ever (high) school race and it didn't go exactly how I wanted it to. So with that said, the most important thing I learned was how to deal with defeat. How to stay positive and continue to have a positive outlook on my track career when things don't go your way."
No doubt many bright days are ahead for Basson, who heads to the University of Guelph this fall, joining the Gryphons track and field team, the National champions.
Dorchester Beavers' Sam Willsie finished seventh, in the junior men's 800 metres (2:07.69), while teammate Evan Gillies was 10th, in senior men's pole vault (3.20m).
Parkside's Alyssa Gordon was 10th, in junior women's high jump (1.45m).
Dorchester's Ryan Johnson, finished 11th, in the novice men's 3000m (10:01.14)
Dorchester's Julia Devine, was 17th, in junior women's high jump (1.35m).
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