Ballenas Secondary School Whalers showed they were a force to reckon with at the Vancouver Island Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships.
Against some tough competitors from close to 40 schools at the annual meet held at Centennial Stadium in Victoria last week, the Whalers competed with a lot of heart and spirit that propelled the Parksville school to second place in the team championships.
The school that took home the overall Island team crown was powerhouse, Oak Bay Secondary, which racked up 398 points to win its 25th title in a row. The Whalers came in second with 87 points and the Parkland Panthers of Sidney were third with 68.5 points.
Athletes who finished in the top five at the Islands qualify to compete at the BC High School Provincials Track and Field Championships to take place June 1-3 in Langley.
The Whalers will be well represented at the provincials following some notable results at the Islands. They will have a dozen athletes and possibly two wild cards in Langley.
One of the exciting highlights for the Whalers at the Islands was in the relay events. They’ve proven to be one of the fastest teams at the meet.
The Ballenas A team consisting of speedsters Simon Morrison, Gabriel Dodd, Logan Pepper and Anthony Rodway pulled off a remarkable win. They dominated the heats by finishing first and repeated that feat in the final to claim the gold, beating Claremont and Belmont secondary schools in a time of 46.26 seconds.
The Whalers women’s junior 4×100 relay team which featured combined junior and Grade 9 athletes Olivia Bay, Joanna Waite, Elise Cole and Juliette Desvaux showed their mettle to land the silver in a time of 53.60 seconds.
The Ballenas men’s 4x400m relay team also clinched a bronze medal. The team consisted of Jordan Lee, Spencer Hancock, Noah Elliott, Connor Freeman and back-up Sheridan Way-Nee.
In the field events, junior athlete Libby Elliott collected two medals, a gold in the discus and a bronze in the hammer. She also qualified to compete in the B.C.s by finishing fifth in the javelin throw.
Libby’s elder brother, Noah, who already won a bronze in the 4x400m relay, was also the best in the seniors discus throw winning the gold.
Junior sprinter Bau bagged a bronze medal in the 100m sprint in 13.28 seconds and just missed out on landing another bronze in the 200m dash when she finished fourth in 27.84.
Grade 9 athlete Desvaux was a double silver medalist, sprinting to two second place finishes in the women’s 200m and 400m dash. Cole qualified in the 400m Grade 9 women’s event, finishing sixth in the heats in 1:06.30. She improved her time in the final 1:04.98 to finish third, just a second behind teammate Desvaux to earn the bronze. Joanna Waite excelled in the discus throw to collect the gold medal with a throw of 24.53m.
Other medalists for the Whalers were Kate Morrison who finished third in the junior girls 1500m walk, Simon Morrison a bronze in the men’s senior 200m dash and finished fifth in the 100m, Freeman a bronze in the seniors 400m hurdles, and Spencer Bradbury a silver in the junior 400m hurdles.
Advancing to the provincials are Libby and Noah Elliott, Bau, Morrison, Harrison Glass, Rodway, Desvaux, Waite, Cole, Dodd, Pepper, Bradbury, Freeman, Jordan Lee, Michael McKee, Erica Friesen, and Kate Morrison. Shane Stewart and Devon Matheson are wild card hopefuls. They are going to find out this week if they make the team.
The Kwalikum Secondary Kondors will also feature some of their athletes at the provincials. Jason Ross won bronze twice, in the hammer and shotput, while Serena Woolnough took bronze in the discus and placed fourth in the hammer. Kyra Blyt just missed the bronze twice but is still eligible to compete at the provincials for her two fourth-place finishes in the discus and 100m dash. Meara Crottey is also heaind to the BC’s after finishing fifth in the 3,000m
In the junior events, Alena Woolnough placed fourth in the hammer while two Grade 9s, Jill Kroemer earned the gold in the hammer, and Shelby Bell came in fifth in the 800m.