Semiahmoo’s Michael Miller (left) won gold in junior boys 1,500-m steeplechase at Fraser Valley Track and Field Championships in Abbotsford. (John Morrow photo)

Surrey athletes find podium at Fraser Valley track championships

Medals aplenty for local high schoolers as they prepare for provincials

Surrey could be primed for an impressive provincial medal haul in a few weeks, if results from Fraser Valley championships are an indicator of future success.

Over three days this week, athletes from all corners of the city placed on the podium at the regional meet, which was held in Abbotsford.

At the senior level, Earl Marriott finished fourth overall as a team – combining both girls and boys results – and individual sucess was plentiful, too, as Sajjan Sarai won three medals. He won gold in the senior boys 400-m, and added two silvers, in the 800 and 1,500-m.

Sarai was far from the only Mariner to reach the podium. Rori Denness won gold in the senior girls javelin with a toss of 42.19 m; Olivia Van Ryswyk won gold in the junior girls pole vault; Macey Michaud won gold in senior girls pole vault; Julia Mackie claimed silved in the Grade 8 girls 1,500-m; Jenna Dubois won silver in senior girls hammer throw; and Tristan Ghinzel was third in the junior boys pole vault.

“We have a smaller team this year (compared to recent years) but the team did really well,” explained Earl Marriott coach Scott Kent, who, as a coach with Coastal Track Club also had a vested interested in dozens of non-EMS athletes from across the city who also punched their tickets to provincial championships.

Senior distance runner Jaxon Mackie – who is bound for the NCAA’s Gonzaga University next fall on a track scholarship – placed fourth and sixth in the senior boys 1,500- and 3,000-m respectively, and will also advance to provincials.

Kent suggested that the warm conditions negatively affected Mackie and host of other athletes earlier in the week

“The heat kid some of the kids pretty good on Monday, so it made it tough,” Kent said.

The Semiahmoo Totems were led by triple gold-medallist Michael Miller, who was first in the junior boys 1,500- and 3,000-m races, as well as the steeplechase. Alexa Porpaczy – who will compete next year at the University of Arizona – won gold in the senior girls high jump while Tara Wallack scored a bronze medal in the senior girls 100-m dash. Yuexin Liu also won gold, in the senior girls triple jump.

Isabelle Forsyth won gold in both junior girls shot put and discus; Aneel Gillan won silver in junior boys pole vault; Kloe Jackman won silver in Grade 8 girls 200-m;

Isabel Rose also won three medals in the Special Olympics division – in the girls 100-m, 400-m and shot put.

Two of Elgin Park’s medallists came in the Grade 8 competition, with Issac Baker finishing second in the boys 3,000-m, and Ajax Shen placing third in the boys 100-m. Junior-aged competitor Emma Cobban rounded out the Elgin medal-winning performances with a silver medal in the 1,500-m steeplechase.

From Southridge School, Maya Kobylanski won two gold medals, in the junior girls 3,000-m and 1,500 steeplechase, while Cayla Smith won silver in senior girls 400-m hurdles and bronze in 400-m. Grade 8 George Kordas won bronze in high jump to round out the medallists.

White Rock Christian Academy athlete fared well, too. Yang Luo won gold in two Grade 8 boys hurdle events and added silver in triple jump, while Colin Murray won bronze in the Special Olympics 400-m.

Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary athletes claimed a handful of medals, as well, as Alyza Aikins won bronze in the junior girls triple jump and Tayja Boyko was third in the Grade 8 girls 400-m, while fellow Grade 8 Michael Ogbeiwi won gold in shot put and discus an silver in javelin. Senior Amanda Moore won three silvers – in 100, 200 and 400-m races, while junior boy Marin Jirava won bronze in boys shot put; Emma Kearns won bronze in junior girls hurdles; Olivia McCallum took silver in junior girls pole vault amd Ryan Pederson won silver in senior boys 100-m and bronze in long jump. Rounding out the top finishes was Tyler Wilson, who won gold in the junior 1,500-m race-walk.

In the Special Olympics division, Olivia Neuman won gold in 100- and 400-m races, plus shot put and Jacqueline Carter won silver in the girls 400-m and.

Sullivan Heights’ two medals were both won by Dolly Gabri, who is among Canada’s top throwers for her age. Gabri won gold in both the senior girls discus, with a winning mark of 38.81 m, and in the shot put, with a 13.8-m toss.

Elsewhere in the city, Princess Margaret’s Baneet Bains won three gold medals – in the 1,500-m, 3,000-m and 1,500-m steeplechase – while two Queen Elizabeth Secondary students combined for five gold medals, as Jasneet Niggar won triple gold, in the senior girls 100-, 200- and 400-m, and Charn Nijjar was first in the junior boys discus and shot put. Hanna Dhillon, also of QE, won bronze in junior girls shot put.

Surrey Christian’s Kenny Blackman Jr. also had a record-setting day at the track, winning gold in the senior boys 200-m dash. He crossed the finish line in 22.05 seconds, which Kent said was a Fraser Valley record, and puts him among the top contenders for provincial gold.

Fleetwood Park’s Jaiveer Tiwana won two medals – silver in junior boys 1,500-m steeplechase and bronze in 3,000-m while Manreet Sangha was second in senior girls 100-m hurdles.

Frank Hurt Secondary was led by senior runner Jesaiah Penson-McCoy, who won gold in the 100-m and silver in the 200; Fraser Heights’ Estella Mainella won two junior medals – gold in 100-m and silver in the 200 – while Alejandro Pelayo won bronze in the junior boys triple jump. Katarina Vlahovic won gold in the senior girls 100-m hurdles.

At the Grade 8 level, Lorenzo Pelayo won gold in boys 200-m and triple jump, and Kris Reddy won bronze in the 800-m while Krysthina Vlahovic swept her events with gold medals in the 80-m and 200-m hurdles as well as triple jump.

Enver Creek was led by Special Olympian Thomas Rak, who won gold in 100-m and 400-m, and bronze in shot put.

Holy Cross athletes also finished the week with a slew of top-three performances. Riley Miller won gold in the senior boys 1,500-m and bronze in the 3,000-m; Aiden Miller was bronze in the senior boys 2,000-m steeplechase; Emma Deboer won gold in junior girls high jump; Alexandra Kennedy won bronze in Grade 8 girls javelin; Madison Stoochnoff won silver in junior girls 3,000-m and bronze in 1,500-m steeplechase; Adam Vilio was first in the senior boys 400-m hurdle; and Nicholas Pavlovic won medals of every color at the Grade 8 level, placing first in the 100-m, second in the 200-m and third in long jump.

Praise Aniamaka, from Pacific Academy, won gold in junior boys hurdles and triple jump, plus silver in 100-m hurdles, while Mitchell Gibbs won bronze in junior boys long jump; Kennedy Primrose won gold in junior girls 100-m; Jaziel Tuni took home bronze in the senior girls 100-m hurdles and Laysha Tunti, at the junior girls level, won gold in the 80-m hurdles while adding silver in the 100-m dash.

From Surrey’s Regent Christian Academy, Imani Washington won bronze in the Grade 8 girls 100-m.

Provincial championships are scheduled for May 31-June 2 at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park.

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