Twenty-two members of the Estevan Comprehensive School’s track and field team competed at the Saskatchewan High School Athletics Association’s provincial championships in Moose Jaw on Friday and Saturday.
Hunter Wallster, a Grade 11 student at the school, won a gold medal in the discus with a distance of 46.46 metres, which was more than five metres better than the silver medallist, Nicholas Bertoia of North Battleford.
He also won silver in the shot put with a distance of 13.21 metres.
Coach Kelly Phillipchuk said Wallster is a fantastic athlete.
“He threw really well. He will compete as a senior again next year,” said Phillipchuk, who noted that Wallster has been competing at events across the country.
Numerous other students had top 10 results. In midget boys, Adullahl Dairo was fifth in the 200 metres with a time of 24.29 seconds, seventh in the hurdles at 14.76 seconds and eighth in the 100 metres at 12.05 seconds; while Sam Meek was seventh in the shot put at 12.16 metres.
Phillipchuk was particularly imparessed with Dairo’s efforts, and pointed out that if not for an dropped exchange in the relay event, Dairo might have won a medal.
“He’s one to watch for next year,” said Phillipchuk.
Jaslyn McNabb was seventh in the midget girls high jump at 1.40 metres.
In junior boys events, Aden Haywood was eighth in the 3,000 metres with a time of 10 minutes and 11.01 seconds, and 10th in the 1,500 metres with a time of 4:39.37.
Hunter Eagles finished fifth in the junior boys quadathlon, which is a four-discipline event that includes the 100 metres, 800 metres, shot put and long jump.
In senior girls, Sarah Dacuycuy was fifth in the triple jump at 10.46 metres and Nicole Kistanov was sixth in the long jump at 4.94 metres.
Parker Lavoie was eighth in the senior boys shot put with a distance of 12.69 metres.
Other ECS athletes who competed were Khenan Colbow, Clark Cabiluna, Mason Kukura and Alec Waldegger (midget boys); Hannah Hjortland, Tiana Seeman and Lauren Kobitz (midget girls); Curtis Phillipchuk and Hunter Eagles (junior boys); Chelsea McLenehan and Sydney McKenzie (junior girls); and Shanelle Rioux and Taylor Haux (senior girls).
Kelly Phillipchuk said they had a really good year, and the kids put in a lot of work to be ready for provincials.
The midget division is comprised of Grade 9s and a few Grade 10s, juniors is for the remaining Grade 10s and some Grade 11s, while the senior division is Grade 12s and some Grade 11s.
Phillipchuk said the experience should pay off down the line for the Grade 9s.
“They get to see everyone warming up. They get to see elite athletes competing. They get to see events like the pole vault that they’ve never seen before and relay races at the end.”
Some of the athletes were competing in more than one sporting event during the weekend. Some had baseball in Moose Jaw at a facility close to where track and field provincials as well.
The tournament was also good weather-wise. They have had years in which there has been hail or stifling heat. And they avoided rain that other areas received.
While it the best showing ECS has had at provincials, Phillipchuck is still pleased with how the team performed.
“In terms of the quality of our team, we’re sending good athletes there every year now,” he said. “We’re enjoying practices, the kids are working hard and the results are really good. We’ve set the bar high, and yearly we’re trying to send a great bunch of athletes.”
The team members have been practising four days a week for the past two months, and sometimes on weekends.
Many of them had personal bests on the weekend.
“When you get to go to that stage, and everyone else is running hard, then you run harder,” he said.
The Panteluk Athletic Field and Chamney Family Running Track, which was constructed for the 2016 Saskatchewan Summer Games, has made a huge difference for the team.
“To have the track, to have the pits, to have the equipment has been a huge for us,” said Phillipchuk.