Track stars have field day
Athletics: Rachel Mathieson and Kalena MacKinnon collect medals in Calgary
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 06:00 am
An Okotoks budding athletics star was right on track in her debut on the national platform.
Okotoks’ Rachel Mathieson earned two top-10 finishes at the National Youth Track and Field Championships in Langley, B.C. from Aug. 9-11, where she was eighth in long jump, ninth in triple jump and 15th in the 100m dash.
“I had a great time at nationals. The competition was intense. There are some really great track athletes all over Canada,” Mathieson said. “These are athletes that I have never competed against and it surprised me how good they were.”
“I was disappointed that I did not get personal bests but happy that I made the top 10 for my jumping events.”
It’s been a busy month of track and field for the 15-year-old.
Mathieson and fellow-Okotokian Kalena MacKinnon combined for five medals in the Midget division at the Western Canadian Championships, July 26-28 at the Foothills Athletic Park.
Mathieson scampered to two provincial records and two gold medals in winning the 4x100m relay and also struck gold in the sprint medley relay, featuring runs of 400m, 200m, 200m and 800m.
“It was good we had the lead the whole time and ended up getting a provincial record (4:14.90),” said Mathieson, who ran the 200m portion of the race.
Ditto for the 4x100m triumph, completed in a brisk 49.29 seconds with Mathieson running the opening leg for Team Alberta.
“I like starting, I just like to get it over with and come out of the blocks feeling explosive,” she said.
Mathieson and MacKinnon then tied for third place in the triple jump, each registering distances of 10.29m to share the bronze medal.
“We’re friends and we do compete in a lot of the same events together and usually Rachel ends up jumping a centimetre longer than I do, almost every single time,” MacKinnon said with a laugh. “This time we tied and 10.29 is a low jump for us, usually we’re in the thirties or the forties.”
MacKinnon, who plies her club track trade with the Calgary Warriors, said nerves were symptomatic of her first appearance at Westerns.
“I don’t usually get too nervous before jumping, but I do before running,” she said.
There was no room for trepidation in MacKinnon’s second bronze medal event, where she was the anchor in a nearly too close to call 4x100m relay race.
“I thought it was a possibility to get first, it was a very smooth hand off,” she said. “It was a really, really close race between third and second. They had to go to a photo finish and then had to go down to hundredths of seconds.”
MacKinnon, entering her Grade 10 year at Foothills Composite High School, hopes the success at Westerns is a harbinger of things to come.
“It’s something that I want to keep doing,” she said of athletics. “My goal is to make it to the Olympics one day.”