With the nationals in their own back yard and family and friends cheering them on, six members of Oceanside Track & Field Club left it all on the course and capped off a season to remember last week.
OTFC had six athletes — the most ever in the club’s 20-plus year history — qualified for the 2013 Legion Youth and Midget Nationals, held in Langley Aug. 9-11.
Three competed as part of Team B.C. — Felix Richter and Peter and Thomas Oxland — and the other qualifiers, Miryam Bassett, Steven Schan and Makayla Hoey, 14, carried the flag for OTFC.
Leading the charge for Oceanside was Richter, 15, who captured a silver medal in the Midget Boys 100m Hurdles with a time of 13.90, to go along with gold in the Midget Boys 4x100m Relay (he ran the anchor leg), and a silver in the Boys Medley Relay.
Richter, who lives in Errington and attends Kwalikum Secondary, has had himself one memorable rookie season (he won triple gold at the B.C.’s in late July), also turning in a personal best in the 200m final in Langley for fourth and just missing bronze.
In other results, Schan bagged herself a bronze medal in the 200m Hurdles in a time of 26.38 and Hoey, who at 14 is too young to be considered for Team B.C. (she would have qualified), marked her first trip to the nationals with a silver medal in the Midget Girls Pentathlon that included a personal best in the long jump.
“To place top three in Canada is phenomenal. Everybody I coached (medaled), so I was blown away,” OTFC sprinter/hurdler coach Laurie Ritchie said after, adding that as coach “I’ve never had that kind of result before — pretty phenomenal athletes that’s for sure. They all worked hard and did a great job.”
Worth noting is that Richter and Schan are both in their first season with the club and only started in April, “so for them to have those kind of results in such a short amount of time, it’s absolutely mind boggling.”
Hoey, she added was a year younger than the rest of the field she was competing against “which just shows amazing ability.”
In the distance events, Bassett was battling the flu bug but still finished seventh out of a field of 30-plus girls in the 1,500m and ninth in the 800m. Peter Oxland, competing in his first national championships as a member of Team B.C., was 14th in the 1,500m and 21st in the 800m while brother Thomas, who competed in the World Youth Championships in July in the Ukraine as part of Team Canada, finished 20th in the 800m.
“As a club it was outstanding to have six athletes there representing our community,” surmised OTFC distance coach Kim Longmuir, who made the trip to the nationals with husband Randy.
“It was quite an interesting experience to be on the other side,” she said when asked how it felt after attending the last two national championships with Randy as coaches with Team B.C., adding “we wouldn’t have missed it for anything. We’re so proud of all our athletes — they work so hard.”
The long distance runners take a well-earned rest before the start of their cross country season in two weeks, and are expected to be in the top 10 in the province.
IN OTHER NEWS
Former OTFC standout QBs Thomas Riva, 21, from QB, going into his fourth year at UVic, is in action at the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Quebec, this week where he has qualified for finals in both the 800m (Friday) and 1500m (Thursday).
Former OTFC member, Olympic high jumper Michael Mason from Nanoose Bay, hobbled with a hamstring injury this summer, failed to advance out of the qualifying round at the IAAF World Championships underway in Moscow.