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OFSAA West regional day two

 Gillies vaults to regional gold


   The Dorchester Beaver wins senior women's triple jump and 100-metre hurdles,   

   on day two of the OFSAA West regional track and field championships


  May 28, 2022


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By Rob J. Ross

LASALLE, Ont. - Evan Gillies achieved a four year goal, while Dylen Belanger added to his pile of gold.

The two athletes were champions on day two of the OFSAA West regional track and field meet, Saturday, at Sandwich secondary school.

Gillies has waited his entire high school career at Lord Dorchester secondary, but the senior is now heading to his first OFSAA, winning senior men's pole vault with a personal best (PB) 3.45 metre leap.

"It took me five years of high school but I'm really happy," Gillies said. "It's nice to reap the rewards of the training. It feels really good, especially to get first, when I was just trying to qualify.

Gillies made his biggest attempt of the season thus far, clearing 3.35 metres.

"At one point there was five of us left and the top four qualify. I wasn't in the mindset of trying to see anyone fail the bar. It was I cleared and some other people cleared, so now I have to have to clear the next one (height)," Gillies said. "Once top four, it was a weight off the shoulders and go get the next ones.The cut-off was 3.35 and I finished attempting 3.60. It was cool to be the last one and to pick your height."

Luke Bryenton, of London Oakridge and Blenheim's Ryan Pickering, both went out of the competition at 3.45 metres, leaving Gillies the lone man standing.

"I picked a height that maybe was too high," Gillies said. "I went up 15 centimetres. I didn't make it, but I'm happy with my result. I'm really excited for next week."

Dorchester pole vault coach Paul White felt Gillies was more mentally clear for the event.

"He was more not in his head. Evan is a thinker. Today, he was focused. He had headphones on for the first time. That's what I noticed about him. Totally focused on the task. He's here to vault. It showed," said White. "What I saw today, was what I saw at practice this week. He went over the bungee and as he's in the air, I saw him smile. It was like all of sudden, he felt it. Every vault you take, you don't get that feeling. There's always something you feel off. When you get that feeling, it's a wow factor.

"It's a great big week for him. He's a regional champion."

Belanger, of St. Joe's high school, took the senior men's 400-metre hurdles in 55.3 seconds, adding to his gold medal, in the 110-metre hurdles, from day one.

Then in the final event of the meet, Belanger joined his twin Harrison Belanger and the Coles brothers, Aiden and Tristan, to win the open men's 4x400-metre relay race, in three minutes and 25.60 seconds (3:25.60).

It is the first OFSAA in track and field, for both Dylen and Tristan, having missed their Grade nine seasons due to injury.

"It's going to be a really cool experience for both of them," said Aiden. "It's nice to officially say that we're going to OFSAA because it's been too long."

The top four in each event advance to OFSAA, June 2-4, at York University in Toronto.

Merrick Rollins placed second in novice men's discus (41.75 metres), adding to the Parkside Stampeder's gold in javelin and sixth place result from shot put.

"It's exciting. I'm looking forward to OFSAA," Rollins said

Aiden and Tristan Coles finished two-three (8:36.87 and 8:38.72), in the senior men's 3000 metre run, behind a blazing meet record time, by London Central's Heath McAllister, of 8:18.71. The trio train together with London-Western club.

"He (Heath) opened up in 63, 64 (seconds first lap) and I thought it was little ambitious, so I held back and sat on Tristan for couple laps," said Aiden. "I'm excited for him, breaking a record from 1995 and he's only four seconds off of the world standard time."

OFSAA is were the races get real for the Coles and McAllister, who haven't been pushed all out yet.

Parkside C.I.'s Alyssa Gordon placed second, in junior women's high jump, clearing 1.51 metres, five centimetres lower than Sarnia Northern's Jessica Cooper, at 1.56 metres.

"I feel great with second and getting to go to OFSAA," Gordon said. "I was nervous coming in, because I was looking at the seeds and there was a 1.55 and that's remarkable for jumping. I usually jump 1.48, 1.51 on a good day. It was good to be here and get 1.51."

Gordon will attempt increasing her PB of 1.54 metres at OFSAA, with some minor adjustments at practice this week.

"Just tweaking little things now," Gordon said. "I had to tweak my starting spot a little bit, because my approach kept getting faster and I don't want to hit the bar. But, overall I just have to give my left foot more height and I should be able to get the next one over."

East Elgin Eagles Julie Nagelhout, landed second, in senior women's long jump, with a PB of 5.07 metres.

Parkside's Mason Basson finished third, in the senior men's 800-metre run, with a school record time of 1:55.04. Cole Roberts, of Sarnia St. Pat's won in 1:53.92.

"Feels good to be back on the board. I was worried I wouldn't get another chance because of COVID," said Basson, who advances to OFSAA, in the 400 and 800 metre runs.

"I feel If I went out faster in the 800, I would've been in a position to win," said Basson, who certainly will make adjustments at OFSAA. "The 400 went well for where I am at in my training. Overall, happy with the results."

Dorchester's Sam Willsie, in the junior men's 800 metres (2:03.90) and Ryan Johnson, in the novice men's 3000 metres (PB of 9:57.88), qualified with late surges in each of their races.

"I didn't really expect it, but I had a great result so I'm happy," said Willsie. "I felt really good at the end when I passed a guy to come fourth."

Johnson was among the top four that broke away from the field over the final 800 metres, ensuring a spot at OFSAA.

"The last two laps when we pulled away, I didn't feel any pressure at the end," Johnson said. "It feels amazing. Overwhelming. I didn't think I would be able to, with the seed times coming, but I'm happy with my PB."

Dorchester's Julia Devine, in junior women's high jump (1.45m), placed fourth.

Eagles' Taylor Kana, placed fourth, in novice women's javelin, with a best effort of 28.97 metres, but was going for the 30 metre mark that has been eluding her outside of practice.

"I wasn't getting the right height, so it wasn't going too far, but I managed to squeak in at fourth," said Kana, who had three fouls. "I was trying to aim for 30, but I was throwing bad. But it's alright though. Most of the my best throws didn't count because it (javelin) landed flat, so I need more height so it doesn't land flat."

OFSAA would be the place to hit that 30 metre mark.

Others local results:

Parkside's Andrew Monteith, fifth, junior men's 800 metres (2:03.95); Vincent Moore, seventh, senior men's 800 metres; Justin Cole, 11th, senior men's 400-metre hurdles.

The Stampeders open men's 4x400-metre relay team of Basson, Moore, Cole and Zachary Roberts-Neef, finished sixth (3:33.89).

Dorchester's Brianna Rand, eighth, senior women's 400-metre hurdles; Claire White, sixth, junior women's pole vault; Zachary Dos Santos, 12th, junior men's javelin; Hannah Freer, 13th, senior women's discus; Mackenzie Latimer, 12th, senior women's pole vault; Tegan Ceccanese, senior women's 3000m, DQ.

St. Joe's Matt Piekny, eighth, junior men's high jump (1.65m); Olivia Corniel, ninth, junior women's high jump (1.40m); Harrison Belanger, 11th, senior men's 800 metres; Tyler Van Gorp, 14th, novice men's 300m hurdles; Fowler Little, 15th, novice men's 3000m; Brooklyn Hewitt, 16th, novice women's javelin.

Central Elgin's Emma Westbrook, 12th, junior women's shot.

Medway Cowboys Jadyn Luna, of Thorndale, seventh, senior women's shot put (10.35m).




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