St. Joseph's Rams athlete sets PB of 3.25 meters winning provincial junior title while
Rams' Piekny takes silver in pole vault East Elgin Eagles Kana bronze in javelin
June 12, 2023
By Rob J. Ross
OTTAWA, Ont. - Libby McCurdy was determined to improve on her personal best.
After missing her goal at regionals a week earlier, McCurdy soared to a personal best (PB) of 3.25 meters, bringing home the gold medal for junior women's pole vault, on day three of OFSAA track and field, June 10 at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility.
"I'm really happy because I got a PB," McCurdy said. "I was way over the bar."
McCurdy had only one miss, before attempting 3.35 meters as the only competitor standing.
"Libby, I could tell from the moment she stepped on the runway she was chasing that gold," Rams coach Rachael Wolfs said. "She learned from OFSAA regionals on how to control her nerves and not let it get the best of her."
McCurdy was one of three Elgin County athletes to bring home a medal on the final day of competition, along with teammate Matt Piekny, silver in senior men's pole vault and East Elgin Eagles Taylor Kana, bronze in junior women's javelin.
Piekny cleared a PB of 4.20 meters to secure a medal.
"I'm happy that I medalled," Piekny said. "It was not let my head get to me. Think of every bar as the same, even though it didn't really work. There was a lot of times where I was thinking too much and not vaulting to what I know I can. But once I got in my head I have to just do a pole vault and do what I know how to do, it ended up working out."
Piekny made a crucial jump on a third attempt with the bar at four meters, before clearing 4.10 and 4.20 meters. Only Piekny and Liam Miller remained at 4.30 meters.
"It was his first OFSAA so the nerves were there," Wolfs said. "But once he got over the 4.10 bar he was back in his groove and he got 4.20 on his first attempt which was big. I see bigger bars for him in the near future."
Wolfs, a teacher and coach at St. Joe's, is also the pole vault coach with London-Western Club. The coach saw all seven of her athletes, including McCurdy and Piekny, medal at OFSAA.
Abby Blais, with London Aquinas, placed second behind McCurdy in the junior women's event.
"I was excited to see Abby also get over three meters to give her (McCurdy) some competition," said Wolfs.
Payton Serraglio, with Aquinas and Sophia Bryenton, with London Oakridge, were the gold and silver medalists at the senior women's level. Oakridge's Jackson MacKenzie in junior men and Avery Dickenson, in novice women, both took bronze.
"She's a really good coach She understands so much about vaulting and understands every singe person is different and every person is at different points," Piekny said. "She knows what you need to do to get over that hump. She's the reason why I'm doing pole vault."
Wolfs credits her coaching skills to her coach Kevin DiNardo, back when Wolfs was a star pole vaulter with the University of Windor Lancers during the twenty-teens. Wolfs holds a PB of 4.22 meters and won pole vault gold at the 2018 Canadian U Sports championships.
"I was lucky enough to have such a great coach in my life," said Wolfs. "I think a lot of my coaching abilities reflects on him."
Wolfs understands pole vault can be a lengthy event, both McCurdy and Pieky's lasted three hours from first vault to last, although neither started jumping until 90 minutes in.
"Three hour comps are not ideal especially for the top end vaulters," Wolfs said. "It makes it harder to PB, especially when you've been waiting long in the heat. So the fact that Libby and Matt still pulled off PBs was impressive."
McCurdy and Piekny both made the Junior National standard and will be competing at the Canadian Junior National championships, July 27-30 in Langley, B.C.
"Although they are both still a youth, they have
made the junior National standard, so I would rather have them compete up and
get more experience with the older vaulters," Wolfs said.
East Elgin Eagles Taylor Kana took bronze in junior women's javelin, with a best effort of 37.86 meters.
Kana is an OFSAA bronze medalist for a second year in a row, but unlike 2022 at the novice level, there was disappointment for Kana this time around placing third.
At regionals a week earlier, Kana threw a personal best distance of 42.74 meters and had potential to challenge the OFSAA record of 43.98 meters.
"I was trying to get a new PB, but it wasn't a good day," Kana said. "I had it all there, but it came down to technique. I wish I could have done better. I'm still happy that I got on the podium."
Mikayla Grant, of Oshawa, won with a throw of 42.04 meters.
"I had a super good season coming, so I had high hopes," Kana said. "I haven't had a bad meet yet. Unfortunately it was this one."
Hallman fifth again
Kirk Hallman, of the Dorchester Beavers, had his second fifth place result at the meet, with another school record, this time in the novice men's 3000 meters, finishing in a PB time of nine minutes and 16.77 seconds (9:16.77).
East Elgin's Henry Scott placed sixth, in the novice men's 200-meter dash, in 23.38 seconds.
Dorchester's Hannah McIntyre was 12th, in the senior women's 800-meter run (2:18.25).
St. Joe's Rams Flourish Nmor placed 12th, in the novice women's 800-meter run (2:28.16).
Julia Tunks, of London Oakridge, increased her Canadian Interscholastic record in women's discus set last year, by almost two meters, while breaking the OFSAA senior women's record with a throw of 55.62 meters.
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