The Oak Bay High track and field team of almost 50 athletes hauled home medals, memories and broken records at the BC High School Track & Field Championships at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley last weekend.
“There was lots of good competition. It’s the third largest track meet in North America,” said Malcom Harrison, who graduates this month. “I really like the team atmosphere to it, it brings all the people together.”
The senior team earned its 11th provincial title with 25 different athletes contributing to the point total in a team effort.
“It was really fun. The best part is winning the banner at the end. We really didn’t know that we were going to win. We had so many people that were injured so it was really unexpected,” said fellow Grade 12 student Hannah Charlseworth. “We were in fifth place for the banner until Saturday and then we caught up.”
Both credit coaching with the success of the team, both in banners and medals, and in crafting a team atmosphere.
“It’s a really big team sport, anyone can come there’s no tryouts. The season starts when it’s getting nice outside. There’s so many things you can do,” said Hannah, who sticks with the sprint competition, though she’s tried jumps and javelin last year. “I play a lot of sports and I like to be active.”
“Mr. [Mike] Sheffer is one of the biggest parts of the atmosphere of the athletics program – all the other coaches there as well,” said Malcolm, also crediting his coaches with the Prairie Inn Harriers youth team. “Not even the coaching itself, they just motivate everyone to come out and try and they’re super supportive no matter your skill level and what you’re doing.”
Individually team members fared well.
For the seniors, Alisa Lyesina and her brother Vlad Lyesina both raced to gold medals in the 800m events. Rachel Grohovac was the silver medalist in the women’s pole vault, Jack Stanley earned bronze in the senior 3000m race and Alex Dillon won silver in the 1500m racewalk.
Tyler Dozzi raced to two silver medals in epic duels over 1500m and 3000m races. In the 3000m race Dozzi narrowly lost an battle that shattered a 42-year-old provincial record.
For the juniors, Jade Forrest finished third in the pole vault, Isaac Clements scored gold in the pole vault and Joe Robertson captured gold in the 1500m and silver in the 3000m race. Annika Weir was top five in both the race walk and the pole vault.
Oak Bay won its 25th consecutive team title at the 50th anniversary Island championships at Centennial Stadium at UVic mid-May.