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Titan gold

 Titan trio bring home five gold medals


   De Sousa, Onyema, both win two midget women's events with personal bests,

   Bell repeats as senior men's high jump champion, at WOSSAA track and field


Saturday May 26, 2018


  • WOSSAA track and field
  • WOSSAA track and field
  • WOSSAA track and field
  • WOSSAA track and field
  • WOSSAA track and field
  • WOSSAA track and field



By Rob J. Ross 

LONDON, ON. -  A trio of Central Elgin Titans are golden.

Tayah De Sousa, Hannah Onyema and Hayden Bell won gold medals, at the Western Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association (WOSSAA) track and field championships, May 24/25, at TD Stadium.

The three athletes advance to the OFSAA West regional meet, at Sandwich secondary school, in LaSalle, June 1-2.

De Sousa won both the midget women's 80-metre hurdles and long jump, with personal best performances.

"My jumping was good. I PB'd a couple times so it was definitely a good jumping day," said De Sousa, who leaped 5.28 metres, on day one of the meet. "At TVRA, I did come in second by a couple centimetres, so today I was hoping to break five (metres), get a PB and see what happens. I've been practising getting my body elevated in the air. My knee drive. That helped a lot.

De Sousa won the hurdles in 12.56 seconds, in a race that the top three (Bessette Bulldog Lily Francis, John Paul II Jaguar Nyechuor Dang) all finished under 13 seconds.

"It felt better than prelims. I went over the hurdles a lot smoother."

In her third event, the 100 metres, De Sousa just missed qualifying, finishing sixth in the final.

Onyema took gold in both midget women's shot put and discus.

Onyema led shot put from first her throw of 10.58 metres and had the six best distances of the competition, including a WOSSAA meet record of 11.62 metres.

"I've been getting better every time. I feel confident now," Onyema said. "We had a coach (Kyle Rolph) come over yesterday and he taught us how to expand (spin into the throw). That definitely helped. When I was doing it I just kicked back, but he told me to bring my leg all the way up and kick back as hard as I can."

However, she faced a little adversity at discus.

After fouling on her first two throws, Onyema needed not only a throw that counted, but one over 19.81 metres, the cut off to advance to the next section of three throws.

"I have never been more scared in my life. I didn't even know what to think. I was just praying I would get it in, recalled Onyema.

Prayers were answered as Onyema delivered the best throw of the competition to that point, at 26.11 metres, almost three metres better than Medway's Amy Schmit. Onyema would add distance to her leading mark, with throws of 26.72 and 26.89 metres.

Onyema credits Titans coach Scott King with technical direction and for helping her remain calm during her events.

"I do my best not to freak out," Onyema said. "Deep breathing."

In her third event, javelin, Onyema placed seventh, with a best effort of 23.13 metres.

"My goals were just to make it through to OFSAA (West). I wasn't sure how good the girls were going to be, so to make it through (in two events) is great."

Bell repeated as the WOSSAA champion in senior men's high jump, overcoming a nagging shin injury, with a personal best effort of 1.96 metres.

Listowel's Travis Bannerman also cleared the height, but had five misses at previous heights, compared to just one miss (at 1.90) for Bell.

"I was feeling good (but) I didn't think I was going to win, because I only jumped 1.90 last week," Bell said. "I had some shins problems, but near the end it was feeling good. I pushed it (injury) out of the way. I didn't think about it and just focused on the jump. I wanted to PB bad."

Bell also qualified for regionals, placing third in pole vault (3.40m). It is just his first year competing in the event, as Bell is a budding decathlete, for the St. Thomas Legion club.

"I like it (decathlon). It's a lot of fun, just not the 1500 (metre race) at the end," Bell said. "The throws are a lot o fun and the jumps are kind of my thing, same with hurdles. Pole vault is really hard. It takes a lot of work, a lot of technique."

Last July, Bell placed third in the octathlon (eight events), at the under-17 Legion provincial championships.

Seth Kuiper, Sydney Gee and Tanner Smyth, also qualified for the regional meet.

Kuiper placed second in senior men's shot put, with a personal best throw of 13.25 metres, despite faulting three times.

"It felt great to get the PB. I faulted my first shot and in practice they (throws) weren't going well. I knew I had to get my foot back when I jumped back. Then my friend Jared Parkin gave me some advice, a little exercise, which helped me."

Last June Kuiper placed 10th in discus at OFSAA as a junior. It will have to be in shot put that Kuiper aims to return to OFSAA, as the first year senior placed seventh in discus at WOSSAA.

"Last year was discus, but it would be great to get to OFSAA again, this time for shot," Kuiper said. "It's pretty intimidating to see some of these giants (in senior)."

Smyth finished fourth, in the senior men's 110-metre hurdles (14.69 sec.).

Gee was fourth, in midget women's javelin (26.25m) and just missed qualifying in the 400 metre dash, finishing sixth (1:04.41).

De Sousa, Gee and Onyema, led the Titans to the midget women's team title.







            © 2018