The Central Elgin Titan wins the junior women's 80-metre hurdles in a
PB time at the OFSAA track and field meet championships
Friday, June 7, 2019
GUELPH, ON. - Crossing the finish line Tayah De Sousa covered her face realizing she was an OFSAA champion.
The Central Elgin Titan won the junior women's 80-metre hurdles, in a personal best time of 11.43 seconds, with her dad, grandparents and coaches watching, at OFSAA track and field , at Guelph University.
"It's definitely a great feeling," said De Sousa. "I tried to focus on what I worked on all season. I was hoping to get a PB and I got that. My strides were smooth in between the hurdles. It didn't feel choppy. It's the best race I've ran all season."
De Sousa had the fastest time from the heats earlier in the day, but knew her competitors would step it up in the final.
"I knew I was seeded first, but I didn't want to expect anything."
De Sousa is the first Titan to win OFSAA gold since 2013, when Riley Bell was the long jump and triple jump champion.
"It puts her among the elite athletes who have ever competed at OFSAA for us. We're so proud of Tayah," Titans' coach Scott King said. "To see Tayah PB the way that she did in her heat and her main race was outstanding. For a little school like ours, anytime a Titan strikes gold at OFSAA it's a really special moment."
De Sousa improved on her fourth place finish from a year ago as a midget competitor.
"What happened last year was a real awakening for her. She was inexperienced. She had a really good race half way then she tied up. This year it's focus on your own race, your lane," said Harry Stantsos, St. Thomas Legion Club coach. "I knew if she put it together she'd do well and she did. At the second hurdle, she was there. Her rhythm was perfect, she was hurdling fast and accelerating."
De Sousa, who also placed 14th in long jump, was one of four local athletes to medal, on day two of the three day provincial high school champion ships.
Parkside's A.J. Stanat won his second medal at OFSAA, taking home bronze in junior men' shot put, with a PB distance of 16.50 metres, less than 24 hours after winning the discus competition.
"I feel really good about what I accomplished. I worked really hard throughout the season to get where I am now," said Stanat, who duplicates his results from a year ago as a midget competitor. "The mental experience helps. Being here last year, you're on the big stage and everyone is watching. That really helped me both yesterday and today."
Stanat tossed out his distance on his fourth attempt and followed that with a 16.42 metre heave in round five.
"I wasn't throwing well in the first three rounds and but I gathered myself together and kept throwing harder and harder, trying to be on that podium," said Stanat. "It's good to end the season on a good note, with two personal bests."
Stanat now moves on to the club season with St. Thomas Legion and the adjustment to heavier weights for both the shot and discus. Stanat will also do the hammer throw.
St. Joseph's Ram Aiden Coles finished third, in the midget men's 1500 metres, thanks to incredible kick over the final 300 metres, lowering his PB time by four seconds to 4:16.34.
"I'm very surprised. Going into it I thought I would come fifth, sixth, or even more back," said Coles. "When I saw I was making ground (final 300 metres), I told myself I had to keep on going because I wanted this for so long. I wanted an OFSAA medal before I even got to high school. It's really awesome."
Coles had a quick start shooting to the front, then settled back in the chase pack, before making his big move, all part of his race plan.
"I went in to it knowing that people would let others take the lead, so I just took it," Coles said. "Then I just let people pass me so I wouldn't tire out, making it so I could draft them. It took less energy for me. With one lap left I started picking it up. I haven't had a very good kick this season, but I had to rely on my kick this race because there are so kids with insane kicks."
Central Elgin Titan Hannah Onyema placed sixth, in junior women's shot put (12.53 metres). Onyema improved on her positions from a year ago at the midget level on both shot and discus.
Parkside's Mason Basson finished sixth, with a PB height of 1.75 metres, in midget men's high jump.
Julie Nagelhout also placed sixth, in midget women's javelin (32.41 metres), an implement the East Elgin Eagle only started throwing a month ago.
Dorchester's Hannah Freer placed 12th, in the midget women's pole vault (2.45 metres), while teammate Abby Downing was 16th, in junior women's pole vault (2.50 metres).
Jadyn Luna, of Thorndale, was the anchor runner on Medway high school's silver medal winning midget women's 4x100-metre relay team. Only an OFSAA record setting time of 48.86 seconds by Rexdale Henry Carr was faster than Medway's 50.70 seconds.
"It's a lot of pressure as an anchor because everything is kind of relying on me. But it's a lot of fun and we're all really good," said Luna, of her teammates Karys Embree, Olivia Wills and Maddie White. "I broke down (after finishing). I was crying. I was so happy."
White, of Kilworth, added, "We had a plan. We wanted to run our hearts out, so we were like chasing each other down the track. We really all came together as a team today. I'm so proud of us."
The four girls didn't expect an OFSAA medal four weeks ago, entering the Thames Valley meet.
"I was just hoping to get to WOSSAA," said Ilderton native Wills. "It's so great that we have such an amazing team because we trust each other with the hand-offs, we all have confident running and positive attitudes and that gets us there."
Embree, the big city girl from London, who runs the first leg, says an adjustment in her form paid dividends.
"My coach told me to stay low at the beginning because I haven't been doing that. I did it this time and it really worked because I got to Olivia faster than I ever have."
Luna, a graduate of West Nissouri elementary school in Thorndale, advanced to regionals in the 200 metre dash and the 80 and 300-metre hurdles.
"It was really fun. I really didn't think I'd make OFSAA regionals for all four of my events, but I'm really happy with how they turned out."