The Dorchester Beaver wins senior women's triple jump and 100-metre hurdles,
on day one of the OFSAA West regional track and field championships
May 27, 2022
By Rob J. Ross
LASALLE, Ont. - All Brianna Rand needed for two gold medals was about one hour.
The Dorchester Beaver won the senior women's 110-metre hurdles and 30 minutes later, had leaped to a second gold, in triple jump, at the OFSAA West regional track and field championships, at Sandwich secondary school.
"It feels really good because last time I was at OFSAA West, I only had one event. Now I have three here (400-metre hurdles on day two), so I feel I'm doing really well," Rand said. "The final wasn't my best race. I hit the first hurdle, which set me back a little bit. The middle of my race was good. Then I hit three more, so it was close at the end, but I stayed up."
In the heats earlier in the day, Rand set a personal best time (PB) of 15.11 seconds.
Rand missed the first round of triple jump, for her hurdles final, but leaped 11.37 metres in her first attempt in round two, a distance no one else could attain.
"I got moved to the end of the order, so I got more time to rest when I got back over there," Rand said. "I know what I can do, so I try to do my best. Towards the end, I started getting tired so they (jumps) were high tens, but still really good."
Her second best measurement of 11.17 metres would have won the event.
In 2019, at OFSAA, Rand won a silver medal, in the novice women's 300-metre hurdles. Three years later, Rand is returning to the high school provincial meet in two events.
"It feels really good. I'm happy," said Rand.
The top four in each event, advance to OFSAA, June 2-4, at York University, in Toronto.
Three athletes, Dylen Belanger, Aiden Coles, and Merrick Collins, joined Rand, as event champions, from day one of the two day meet, featuring athletes from schools in WOSSAA, SWOSSAA and CWOSSAA (Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Sarnia, London, Chatham and Windsor).
Belanger, of St. Joe's high school, won the senior men's 110-metre hurdles in 14.74 seconds, one of only two times under 15 seconds. Chatham-Kent's Ayden Blain gave Belanger the biggest challenge, finishing in 14.84 seconds.
"The wind made it a lot tougher to hit the hurdles, so I had to go really hard," Belanger said. "I could feel people on my sides. I felt the time I ran was decent considering. At this point, it's not really the time for me, it's getting to OFSAA, that's more important than anything."
Belanger took command over the second half of the race.
"The last hurdles are the money hurdles where the race is won, so I stayed focused on my form," Belanger said. "My coach told me as soon as I hit the fifth hurdle to keep going because that's when most people lose focus, so I made sure at that fifth hurdle, to go full to the end."
It will be Belanger's first trip to OFSAA.
"It's a really good feeling because I haven't had the opportunity to race at this level, because in Grade nine I was injured," said Belanger. "The build up over the past few years, to go to OFSAA, is a really big accomplishment for me."
Belanger will be attending Western University this fall.
St. Joe's twins Aiden and Tristen Coles, were one-two, in the the senior men's 1500 metres, with Aiden crossing the finish line in three minutes and 52.25 seconds (3:52.25).
"It felt really good. The 3:52 is my second fastest time ever. It felt very easy compared to running that last year," said Coles, who had a pre-race strategy with his brother, Tristan and their training partner, Heath McAllister, of London Central.
"Our goal was to run 63s for three laps and then close in whatever. But right at the gun, we had a couple kids that separated us and our plan was out the window," said Aiden. "Tristan took the first two and I decided to run a decent time, I'd take it from 700 to go. I pushed relatively hard and last lap closed in 58."
The trio has the 3000 metres on day two.
Parkside Stampeders Merrick Rollins won novice men's javelin (43.45m) and placed sixth, in shot put (11.46 m).
"I'm looking forward to OFSAA," said Rollins, who has a third event, discus, on day two. "Definitely a big achievement for me. I do really enjoy track. It's been a fun experience."
After three rounds, Rollins was second behind Dorchester Beavers' Evan Stevens, who had a PB effort of 43.06 metres to lead the field. Rollins moved into top spot in round four and had four of his six throws over 40 metres.
Another seven athletes from Elgin County and Dorchester placed in the top four, to earn their spot at OFSAA.
Jayden Sargeant won silver in junior men's discus (37.60m) and was 13th in shot put (10.86m).
"It's a big thing, especially just starting this year. It's cool to think about how far I've come. It feels amazing to be constantly beating your goals and doing better every time. I've PB'd at every meet," said Sargeant. "I didn't even think I'd do any throwing."
Sargeant, who plays football with the London Jr. Mustangs, needed someone to persuade him to come out for the track and field team.
"It was my girlfriend (Alyssa Gordon). I wasn't going to do track and she convinced me to give it a try," said Sargeant, adding with a laugh. "Hope she's proud of me."
Parkside Stampeder Ethan Dolby sprinted to second place, in the senior men's 100-metre final, finishing in 11.35 seconds.
Stevens placed third in novice men's javelin with a PB of 43.06 metres.
"I was confident heading into the throws. I had no pressure, so I was relaxed and I threw a PB," Stevens said. "I was thinking about pulling the javelin, not throwing it. I was coming through over my head, kept the javelin straight and I wasn't doing that before. I also got some new shoes. That all helped."
Stevens lead the competition for three rounds, before Rollins threw the eventual winning distance in round four and Nolan Crego, of Cambridge Monsignor Doyle, bumped him in round six.
"That gave me confidence that I was pretty much going to go to OFSAA," said Stevens. "The next three throws I tried to unleash a new PB, but couldn't do it. But it's pretty cool to qualify."
St. Joe's Libby McCurdy, placed third, in novice women's pole vault (2.25m).
Parkside Stampeders Mason Basson finished fourth, in the senior men's 400-metre run (51.46 sec.), while teammate Andrew Monteith was fourth, in the junior men's 1500 metres.
St. Joe's Rams Mara Kemmerling, fifth, novice women's 80-metre hurdles (13.64 sec.), seventh, long jump (4.49) and 12th, 100-metre dash (13.91 sec.); St. Joe's Claireese Coffey, sixth, senior women's triple jump (10.62m); David Anderson, seventh, junior men's discus (32.68m), 11th in shot put (11.25m); Shalem Hernandez 15th, novice men's shot put (10.26m)
Dorchester's Sam Willsie, sixth, junior men's 400-metre dash (52.72 sec.); Ryan Johnson, seventh, novice men's 1500 metres (4:34.40); Nabeel Haliru, 10th, senior men's high jump (1.65m); Darwin Moradel, 11th, junior men's discus (29.23m); Nate Taylor, 13th, open men's 2000m steeplechase; Brayden Smith, three fouls, junior men's triple jump; Aaron Pranger, 10th, novice men's javelin (32.73m)
Parkside Stampeders Vincent Moore, 10th (53.13 sec.), senior men's 400 metres; Justin Cole, Zachary Roberts-Neef, eighth and ninth, open men's 2000 metre steeplechase, both with PB times, of 6:51.22 and 6:55.68; Alistair Mciver, 14th, senior men's discus (27.29m).
Central Elgin Titans Emma Westbrook, eighth, junior women's 80-metre hurdles (14.44 sec.), 12th, long jump (4.40m)
East Elgin Eagles Dustin Farrow, eighth, senior men's javelin, a PB of 44.63 metres; Julie Nagelhout, eighth, senior women's javelin (31.87m)
Medway Cowboys Jadyn Luna, of Thorndale, 15th, senior women's javelin (26.65m)
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