Michael Mason of Nanoose Bay

Mason makes it back to third Olympic Games

Nanoose Bay high jumper qualifies in Canadian Track & Field trials in Edmonton

Michael Mason of Nanoose Bay, a product of the Oceanside Track and Field Club, qualified for his third Summer Olympic Games while two other OTFC alumni fell short of the goal during last weekend’s Canadian Track & Field Championships and Olympic selection trials at Foote Field in Edmonton.

Mason, 29, finished second in the men’s high jump, clearing a height of 2.23 metres to join current world champion and 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist Derek Drouin (3.30 metres) in the 65-member Team Canada track and field delegation next month in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Mason debuted in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He returned with Team Canada in 2012 and reached the high jump finals, placing eighth in the London Games.

In Saturday’s trials, Mason cleared 2.23 metres on his first attempt and had not missed a height in the competition until coming up short in three straight attempts at 2.26. The 2004 World Junior champion had earned an Olympic qualifying mark of 2.33 metres last year at the same venue, in the Edmonton Track Classic.

Alycia Butterworth of Parksville, a 23-year-old Ballenas Secondary School graduate, was one of five runners who had met the Olympic qualifying standard in the women’s 3,000-metre steeplechase, the largest number in any single event in the trials. But she finished fifth in Thursday’s steeplechase final in 10:05.90, missing out on one of the top three spots that earned Olympic berths.

Last month, Butterworth surprised most observers and herself by slashing 27 seconds off her previous best time and running an Olympic-qualifying 9:41.26 in a race in Portland, Ore. Until then, she said, her sights had been set on the 2020 Summer Games.

Thomas Riva, 24, a 2010 graduate of Kwalikum Secondary School and the 2015 national champion in the men’s 1,500 metres, finished nearly six seconds faster than his winning time in last year’s nationals. But his 3:58.79 was good enough for only ninth place in the men’s final, and even his qualifying mark of 3:51.42 in the semifinals was well off the 3:36.20 necessary to claim a berth in the Olympics.

In addition, three-time Paralympian and five-time medal-winner Michelle Stilwell won the women’s 100-metre wheelchair final. The Canadian Paralympic team has not yet been announced.

—NEWS Staff

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