All things must Pass on the track

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:28 am

Russell Grusing clears the bar at the Foothills divisional track meet.
Russell Grusing clears the bar at the Foothills divisional track meet.
Bruce Campbell/OWW

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A Foothills Falcon caught a nice draft last week.

Graham Strang went out like gangbusters in leading the Junior boys 1,500 metres when he got a rude awakening from Strathcona-Tweedsmuir Spartan Saransh Loona.

“He passed me at about 300m and yes, I was a little worried,” Strang said.

“I knew I had to stay at the front. So I decided to stay right next to him and draft off him.”

Strang gave up the draft at around the 800m mark when he kicked into a different gear and passed Loona.

He never looked back for the final 700 metres.

“As soon as I passed that corner I just wanted to go as fast I could to pass him so he couldn’t draft off me,” Strang said. “I was thinking 700m to go, 600m to go, 500m to go — that seems to work for me.”

Strang’s time of 4:54:68 was well below his personal best of 4:35. He hopes to get in the 4:40 for the South Central zones on May 27. Loona also qualified for zones by finishing second at 5:01.84.

Strang said his time may have been slower because he had ran the 800m earlier that day. Strang also won the Junior boys 800m in 2:14.63. Michael Nel from HTA was second at 2:17.72.

While Strang was taking care of business in the middle distances, the Falcons also did well on the sprints.

Lauren Bailey won the Intermediate girls 100m in 13.60 seconds —not bad since she took a year off.

“I just wanted to get more involved in track this year,” Bailey said. “I think I can do a lot better, I just have to push myself a lot harder.

“It’s been hard because we haven’t really had practices because of the bad weather.”

She also qualified for zones by winning the Intermediate high jump at 1.44m.

The Falcons’ Mwambi Chali won the Junior boys 100m in a 12.02, just ahead of STS Spartan Braeden McDougall at 12.39.

Falcon Sierra Tessari saved the best for last in winning the Junior girls discus.

Just prior to her final throw, Tessari watched as STS Spartan McDermott threw an impressive 22.12 metres — dropping the Falcon to third place.

It was time for either Tessari to either go big or stay home for zones.

“I thought I just have one more chance to go to zones,” Tessari said. “I had a bit of anger in my last throw, and I finally pushed through.”

Her anger paid off with a toss of 22.44m, to inch out McDermott by 31 centimetres.

The Falcons finished third in the overall standings, finishing behind STS and first-place HTA.

Sophomore year

You would expect any athlete with an oilrig on his chest would be the type who could jump and throw things.

The Oilfields Drillers continue to work on building their program as they were represented at divisionals for the second straight year.

“This year we had nine athletes but we are still a pretty small group,” said the Drillers coach Amy Griffiths.

“We had seven of them qualify for zones so we did really well.”

Leading the Drillers was Russell Grusing who won the Intermediate boys long jump with a leap of 5.34 metres. He also finished second in the high jump at 1.55 metres, nine centimetres behind HTA’s Seb Kilcommons.

There appears to be a spring in the steps of the Oilfields Drillers.

Grade 10 athletes Jimmy Blower and Zoee Stromberg won the Junior boys and girls high jump respectively.

Blower’s jump of 1.52m was some 10cm ahead of second place Jake Rempel from HTA.

Meanwhile, Stromberg was in a battle with Foothills Falcon Rachel Mathieson. Both of the jumpers successfully cleared 1.38m. However, they both missed on their next attempts at a higher height.

Stromberg won on a count back.

Driller Kamela Knight has proven she can toss a basketball with plenty of finesse. Turns out she can also toss steel balls, spears and metal frisbees too.

She just wishes she had a Hall pass.

Knight finished second behind Foothills’ Leslie Hall in both the Intermediate girls shot put and the discus. Hall won the shot with a put of 9.87m while Knight threw 9.70m. Hall won the discus at 24.05m, while Knight came in at 23.45m

In the javelin, Knight just missed qualifying for zones. She was third behind first-placed Caitlin Dales from Foothills and HTA’s Teagan Donnelly.

Drillers coach Griffith said track is the ideal sport for smaller schools like Oilfields.

“I think it is just a great way to showcase the natural talent of our athletes,” Griffiths said. “It’s also very doable and not expensive.”

The top two finishers in each event advance to zones which are May 27 at Foothills Athletic Park in Calgary.

The top two at zones will go on to provincials in Calgary on June 6-7.


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