OTFC bring gold back from B.C.’s

Local track athletes excel in provincial championships despite Kamloops heat

OTFC provincial medalists (from left) Kyra Blyt

Oceanside Track & Field Club battled blazing heat and came up big at the B.C. Track and Field Championships.

Played in Kamloops July 19-21, the annual event for athletes 14 and older, featured the best in B.C.

OTFC sprinter/hurdler coach Laurie Ritchie took five athletes, and leading the charge for the local high performance club was Felix Richter who “ran several stunning performances over the weekend,” winning all three of his events — the 100m, 200m and 100m hurdles — in which he out-sprinted the B.C. High School Midget boys champion, with personal best times of 11.28, 22.84 and 13.69 for triple gold.

Richter’s efforts now have him ranked fourth in Canada in the 100m and first in Canada in Midget boys in the 100m Hurdles. “These performances are magnified by the fact that he just started track in April, and this meet was only the fourth time he has ever raced 100m hurdles,” Ritchie pointed out.

Other OTFC highlights had Kyra Blyt bagging bronze in the 14-year-old Midget Girls 100m with a time of 13.45, and taking sixth in the 200m in 27.60 — both personal bests. She also threw a personal best discus at 22.69.

Simon Morrison shaved five tenths of a second off his best in the 100m for a time of 12.79 and took almost a full second off his best in the 200m to take bronze in the 14-year-old boys Midget category while also throwing a personal best in javelin.

Steven Schan bettered his times in the 200m and 300m and won gold in the Midget 15-year-old boys 200m hurdles despite falling twice. Schan is currently ranked third in Canada amongst Midget boys in this event.

Daniel Stewart, coached by OTFC throwing coach Cathy MacKenzie, competed in the Jr. Men’s hammer and finished fourth.

“It was probably the best showing ever for OTFC sprinters in the time I’ve been coaching, everybody set personal bests, and everybody medaled.

Also in the mix and competing in the searing heat were OTFC’s seven distance runners.

“It was a tough, tough weekend for our distance runners because of the heat — absolutely brutal weather for running distances,” distance coach Kim Longmuir said, pointing out it was over 30C every day, and race time temperature for Saturday afternoon’s 1500m event was 39C.

“The kids did the best they could do. All the distance runners were struggling. It’s very, very difficult to reach legion standards in those kind of conditions.”

In order to advance to the Royal Canadian Legion Championships, (Midget and Youth Nationals slated for Langley Aug 9-11) as a member of Team B.C., an athlete had to win at the B.C.’s and do so in Legion standard time. Other athletes who achieved Legion standard times at earlier meets, can also qualify for Team B.C. or compete at the nationals representing their clubs.

Thomas Oxland, just back from his first experience representing Canada at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine, ran the 800 meter event on the Sunday and won it, just edging out his brother Peter at the line.

“They went one-two, It was so exciting,” said Longmuir.

Peter also placed fourth in the 1500m and just missed out on bronze.

This will be Thomas’ second time competing at the Nationals, he won 800m gold in Ottawa two years ago.

Both Oxlands have made Team B.C., and Miryam Bassett, 16, who achieved Legion standard time in the 1500 meter earlier in the season, will be competing at the nationals.

Bassett won the National Development 1500m event at the big Victoria International earlier this season.

Also performing well was Tkia King who finished sixth in the 2000m steeplechase. Taylor Chestnut finished fifth in the 400m event

Rebecca Bassett, 18, finished sixth in the 800m, and eighth in the 1500m, while brother Yosef, 15, was seventh in the 800m.

“It was interesting season weather wise,” Longmuir surmised when asked about this most recent campaign “Those kids raced in gale force winds, they raced in monsoons, they raced in heat, but despite it all we had some outstanding performances.”

OTFC SENDS SIX athletes to the upcoming Legion Youth and Midget Nationals being held in Langley Aug. 9-11.

Felix Richter, and Peter and Thomas Oxland on Team BC, and Miryam Bassett, Steven Schan and  Makayla Hoey, 14, who is too young to be selected to Team BC, will be competing in the Pentathlon event in which she is the BC champion for her age group — will represent OTFC.

“It’s pretty cool. It’s a big event and it’s a great experience for them,” said Longmuir.