The Parkside C.I. athlete is the OFSAA midget men's discus champion
while St. Joe's Clark and East Elgin's Knelsen are bronze medalists
Sunday, June 10, 2018
By Rob J. Ross
TORONTO, ON. - Arthur (A.J.) Stanat is an OFSAA champion.
The Parkside Collegiate Institute athlete won the gold medal in midget men's discus, delivering a throw of 47.81 metres, a new personal best, during three of the OFSAA track and field championships, at York University, on Saturday.
"It feels amazing. On my last throw, it (discus) just came out of my hand really well, nice and flat and I kept my arm back," Stanat said. "I was second for five rounds and I really had to pull it together and have a throw to beat the guy in first place."
Stanat was second heading into the final round of the event, with a best throw of 46.35 metres, behind leader Michael Tetenych, at 46.60 metres.
"The first was throw was just over 40 by a centimetre and I was nervous to start off," said Stanat, fifth after one round. "After that I found my groove and continued that way for the competition.
All five of Stanat's throws were over 40 metres. He fouled on one, his fifth throw, but recovered quite nicely in the sixth round, breaking the heart of Tetenych, who led from the first round.
Stanat is making it a habit stepping up with his best throws on his final attempts.
Two days earlier at OFSAA, Stanat won the bronze medal, in shot put, with toss of 14.99 metres, on his last throw of the competition.
At regionals a week earlier in Windsor, Stanat won discus, with a throw of 43.43 metres, again on his last toss of the disc.
Bringing home two OFSAA medals surprises the grade nine thrower.
"It felt absolutely amazing," Stanat said. "I really didn't think I would (medal) after looking at the seedings. I was sixth for shot and third for discus, so I had some catching up to do. I went in to OFSAA with an open mind thinking that anyone could win and it turned out it was me in discus."
Stanat credits his time training with the local track and field club for his success.
"Before this year I had a few years of experience with the St. Thomas Legion," said Stanat. "That helped me because I've been in situations before, in (legion) provincials, where I had to throw. That helped with my nerves, having the experience of being in that situation before."
Clearing hurdles on and off the track
Liam Clark went through a roller coaster of emotions on his way to winning a bronze medal, in the senior men's 110-metre hurdles, at OFSAA.
That's not even from the actual race either.
The St. Joseph's Ram hurdler finished the race in 54.37 seconds, but Clark was soon told he had been disqualified for an infraction during the race. Believing he had run a clean race, his coach filed an appeal. After a few hours and a video review of his lap around the oval, officials announced there had been no infraction and Clark was reinstated as the third place finisher.
"I was kind of flustered. I finish the race, felt good and then I hear I got DQ'd," Clark said. "At first it came out as a lane infringement, but then it was something to do with my leg trail coming around on the outside."
Finally stepping on to the podium eased the frustration, while reflecting on the race itself.
"There was a lot of pride, my final race for high school. I was really happy," said Clark. "I felt good. I was in lane seven. I decided instead of pacing it, I would take it out hard right away, just so I could get ahead and stay in a good spot. The first part of the race was good. I did bang my knee on the fourth hurdle, but it didn't slow me down. I made sure to push myself as hard as I could. Technically, it was one of my best races."
Nate St. Romain, from Belleville Nicholson College, won the race in 52.94 seconds, followed by Clark's local rival, Nathan Hostettler, of Arva Medway. Clark's good friend, Matthew MacNeill, of London Lucas, finished sixth.
"There's a lot of respect between all of us, having run with all those guys for four years, all of the support," said Clark.
Up next is the Canadian track and field championships, in Ottawa, July 3-8. Clark will compete in the 400-metre hurdles and hopes to qualify for the 110-metre hurdles.
In September, Clark heads to the University of Waterloo for mechatronics engineering, with plans to compete in track if his schedule allows.
"I'm going to see how balancing education and track is. But if it is too much, I'll have to put track to the side for the time being."
Bronze medal caps standout first year
Hallee Knelsen is becoming one of the most decorated runners at East Elgin secondary school and she is only in Grade nine.
Knelsen won the bronze medal, in the midget women's 800 metre race, at OFSAA, finishing in a personal best time of 2:16.07.
"It felt really good. It was good that in the morning I was in a slower heat, so I got to save some energy for the final. That seemed to work," said Knelsen. "It was a really big PB for me, so I am really happy about that."
Knelsen ran a 2:21.26 in her heat, setting her up for her biggest race of her career.
"I was in the eighth lane to start so it was kind of hard to know where I was compared to everyone else. So I cut in and I was in third. I wasn't sure that I would be able to hold on to it, but I did," recalled Knelsen. "I tried to stay with the ones ahead of me and we kind of spread away from the other runners.
Chatham-Kent's Emma Pegg won in 2:13.18, followed by Sophie Coutts, from Toronto Leaside, in 2:14.99.
A day earlier Knelsen finished seventh in the midget women's 1500 metres.
"I got PB's in both of my races and I placed well in both, so I couldn't have expected anything more."
Last November, at OFSAA cross country, Knelsen was 26th in the midget women's race featuring 259 runners from across the province.
OFSAA day three roundup
Lord Dorchester's Owen Pink finished 14th, in the midget men's 3000 metres (9:48.96).
Central Elgin Titan Hannah Onyema fouled out, in midget women's discus and did not place.
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