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More WOSSAA highlights

 Parkside's Roth sprints to triple gold


   Wins the junior men's 200 and 400 metres and 300-metre hurdles, plus anchors

   PCI's junior men's 4x100-metre relay team, 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
  • WOSSAA track and field
  • WOSSAA track and field



By Rob J. Ross 

LONDON, ON. -  Michael Roth was three for three for his individual races.

The Parkside Collegiate Institute sprinter, was one of just three athletes to score a hat trick of gold medals, at the Western Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association (WOSSAA) track and field championships, May 24/25, at TD Stadium.

The top five in each event at WOSSAA advance to the OFSAA West regional championship meet, at Sandwich secondary school, in LaSalle, June 1-2.

On day one, Roth won the junior men's 400 metre dash in 51.33 seconds, the only one to finish a lap of the oval under 52 seconds.

Next day, Roth was first in the 300-metre hurdles (39.9 seconds) and 200 metre dash (23.2 sec.).

"Last year I got decent results but not as good as this year. I was iffy about myself if I would do well. Now I just think I will and it happens. I'm more confident."

In the hurdles, Roth edged Arva Medway's Judson Moorhouse, at the finish line by five-one hundredths of a second, preventing him from winning his third race.

"I had a better start (than at TVRA). I was really smooth," said Roth.  "A new PB, so that is really cool."

Roth also left WOSSAA with a silver medal, as the anchor runner of Parkside's junior men's 4x100-metre relay team. Zachary Copeland, who also throws the javelin and discus, Jack Carlson, Kyle Fraser and Roth, finished four laps in 45.87 seconds, behind winner London Regina Mundi College, in 44.68 seconds.

"We have a thrower and a midget (Jack) on our team but we're doing well," said Roth, with a laugh. "(Zack) is confident off of the blocks and looking fast. Jack, he's younger but he still has the speed to match the other guys and Kyle is doing well, keeping up with them and giving me a good position. We hope to achieve first."

Joining Roth as triple gold medalists: Medway's Clarissa Sladek (junior women's 800, 1500, 3000m) and Wingham Madill's Ryan Jacklin (junior men's shot put, javelin, discus).

Several athletes won two events, including Parkside thrower Arthur (AJ) Stanat, who tossed out gold medal winning throws in both midget men's shot put and javelin.

"I thought I threw well throughout the competition. I was consistently throwing over 13 metres. My goal was to get over 14 metres and I was just a few centimetres short (13.95m), so I'm sure next competition I get throw over 14 metres," Stanat after shot put.

Double gold for Knelsen

East Elgin Eagle Halle Knelsen, also won double gold, the fastest in the midget women's 800 and 1500 metre races.

"(The 800) was a three second PB and also four seconds faster than last week (at TVRAA). It went well. I was looking for someone to lead through the beginning, but no one was there so I did it myself. I don't really like taking the lead, but I was feeling confident," said Knelsen. "The 1500 was comfortable. I ran five flat, but if I knew I was that close (to finish under five minutes) I could have gone a little harder. Every practice is making a big difference after the time I had to take off."

Knelsen competed at OFSAA cross-country last November and feels that experience can only help her qualify for OFSAA track and field. She qualified for WOSSAA in the 3000 metres, but dropped the race to focus on the 800 and 1500.

Downing leads Dorchester

Winning a surprise gold medal in her mind, was Dorchester's Abbey Downing, in midget women's pole vault. Four athletes tied at 2.20 metres, but Downing took top spot, never missing a height until attempting 2.35 metres.

Downing expressed more disappointed not making 2.35 metres, than joy winning the event.

"I thought I could do 2.35 but I didn't. I only matched my PB," said Downing. "My coach (Paul White) says I can get over 2.50, but, I'm like, well, that's crazy, because I couldn't even get over 2.35, so that's disappointing."

Still, Downing was positive about advancing to regionals and coach White has confidence in her achieving 2.35 metres.

"She can jump higher. I have high hopes. I hope she gets the midget school record. She is close. She just has to turn, plus get her feet up. She can do a back flip, so she should be able to get her feet up," White said.

Downing leads a Lord Dorchester contingent of 15 athletes heading for regionals.

Leaha Johnston is one of three Beavers to qualify in two events, midget women's shot out and javelin, joining middle distance runners Owen Pink and Connor Erb, both in the midget men's 1500 and 3000 metres.

"I don't know how it happened. I'm so surprised, but it feels really good. It was lots of fun," said Johnston, on a silver medal in shot put (9.60 metres) and fifth place for javelin (25.66m), both personal best efforts.

Johnston credits Megan Dunn, a LDSS graduate, now a heptathlete at Wofford College, a Division 1 school, in South Carolina and LDSS coach Jen Ashby.

"It was all Megan. She was helping me with everything. I don't think I could have placed second (in shot) if not for her help," Johnston said. "She was giving me tips on how to place my arm and twist my feet together to get better distance."

Dunn passes the credit to Ashby.

"I was only there two practices," said Dunn. "I had to think about what I was bad at when I first started javelin, the first little steps to focus on to get that improvement at the beginning. For her, it's her arm, keeping it straight, to actually throw with her entire arm instead of bending it."

 The biggest piece of advice for Johnston.

"The most important thing was for her to smile. Go up, smile first, and then go. I can see she gets nervous. She has to relax," Dunn said. "I made her smile and she threw her PB after she smiled."

Also beaming brightly for Dorchester is Jamie Worsfold, who landed third, in midget women's long jump.

"It's good, exciting. I was just trying to get high and far and reach with my arms. That's what I was thinking as I was jumping," Worsfold said. "I'm surprised, I didn't think I would get this high (third)."

Worsfold later joined Michaela Farrugia, Olivia Simonis and Sarah Smith, on the midget women's 4x100-metre team, qualifying fourth.

Smiling from St. Joseph's high school is Savana Cronk, with a fifth place showing in senior women's high jump, qualifying for regionals for the third consecutive year.

Cronk just missed reaching her PB, by two centimetres, clearing 1.90 metres. The height was third best, but more misses at previous heights left Cronk in fifth position.

"I need to arch my back more. Other than that, everything is pretty good but my back does not arch as much as it should. That's my biggest thing," said Cronk, who is aiming for OFSAA. "I'm in grade 12 so it's nice to be able to go in my last year. I need to get 1.53 or 1.55 for sure, to get me to OFSAA. I'm going to train hard for that this week. That's my goal."

Cronk competed in OFSAA cross country in 2016.

At regionals, the top four advance to OFSAA, June 7-9, in Toronto.