NSSAF schedule, plus injuries hobble ARHS track team

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Dave Mathieson
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Coach says team tweaks will provide good results

AMHERST – The fastest high school 100-metre female runner in Nova Scotia won’t be sprinting at the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation provincial championships this weekend in Cape Breton.

“At the beginning of the year we all made a commitment and I committed to my (slo-pitch) team,” said Megan Proctor.

Unfortunately, people can’t be in two places at once.

A tough question high school athletes face every spring is, do they commit to track and field, where, except for the relays, athletes compete mostly in individual sports, or do they commit to slo-pitch, which is a team sport.

Both Proctor and her teammate Danielle Young made the commitment to both sports earlier this spring, but with both provincial championships falling on the same weekend they decided they couldn't let their slo-pitch team down.

“Every year I go to provincials and get blown away but this year I’d be going in on top,” said Proctor. “It took me four years to get the result I got, so it’s disappointing that I don’t get to show what I can do.”

Proctor finished first in both the 100-metre dash and the long jump during the Northumberland Regional track and field championships last weekend in Stellarton.

Proctor finished with a time of 12.60 in the 100-metres. The next best time in the province was 12.62 by a runner in the Western region.

The next best Northumberland runners ran times 13.00, and 13.20, which was run by ARHS’s Kayla Surette.

The fastest run in the Capital Region was 13.44, and the fastest female 100-metre run in the Highland Region was 13.80.

Danielle Young finished first at the Northumberland meet in the 400-metre dash with a time of 1:04.00.

The Vikettes slo-pitch team didn’t qualify for the provincials but one team who did qualify said they wouldn’t be able to make the trip, and the NSAFF invited the Vikettes to the tournament.

Having two highly successful athletes not competing at the biggest meet of the year would be a tough pill to swallow for any coach, but Shawn McMannaman says the ARHS track team will still find success at the provincials.

“Because they (the Vikettes) were invited it was unexpected but we’ll tweak some stuff and make sure everything runs smooth,” said McManaman.

Several ARHS relay teams did very well at the regionals, and several individual athletes did very good as well.

“Kayla Surette had a great meet. She’s a senior girl and she had a couple first place finishes, a second place finish and a third place, and Jason Morse did well in the long jump and hurdles,” said McManaman.

Surette finished first in the 80-metre hurdles and the triple jump, second in the long jump and third in the 100-metres.

Morse finished first in the long jump and second in the 100-metre hurdles.

Also, special senior athlete Desmond Oliver, once again, finished first in all his events, the 100-metres, the long jump and the shot put.

“Desmond ran a 12.30 in the 100-metres, so, like I said before, he’s really fast,” said McManaman.

Two top senior ARHS athletes are hurt. Tyler Landry and Stephen Belyea were running together on the ARHS track Tuesday afternoon trying to work out kinks. Belyea has a broken toe and Landry had a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Belyea missed the regionals and will miss the provincials, while Landry is day-to-day and isn’t sure if he will be able to go to Cape Breton.

Landry finished second in both the 800-metres and the 1,500 metres.

“The competition is really strong this year,” said Landry. “If I’m healthy it will probably be one of the biggest races of my running career.”

Despite the setbacks, McManaman has high hopes for his team.

“We got more through than expected at the regionals and, hopefully, we will keep surprising each other,” he said. “Individually, I’d like to see a couple people make podium, and maybe a relay team or two can steal a spot on the podium.”

Several athletes travelling to the provincials, such as Willie Legere and Chris Hill, finished with personal best performances at the regionals and hope they can do the same at provincials.

“I set PB’s in all my events, so I can’t complain,” said Legere.

“I finished two tenths of a second back from second place in hurdles, and for the triple jump, if I can jump a personal best, I can probably finish in the top ten in the province,” he added. “Those are my goals right now, to finish in single digits.”

Whatever happens at the provincials, Proctor wishes her track teammates the best.

“They’re highly capable,” said Proctor. “They know what they’re doing and I have full confidence in them.”

The track team travels Thursday to the provincial meet at Cape Breton University in Sydney and returns home Saturday.

Organizations: Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation

Geographic location: Cape Breton, Northumberland, Stellarton Western Highland Region

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