The Family Day long weekend brought some much anticipated sunshine, and made for excellent weather for a track and field meet.
Parents and families of the Coyote track team travelled to the Toronto Track and Field Centre (TTFC) to see their kids participate in a full day of racing at the Minor Track Association U18 track meet on Sunday, February 19. The club sent 19 athletes to compete in the MTA meet that was host to 530 registered athletes from across Ontario.
Despite having to wake up well before the crack of dawn to arrive in Toronto for the first events of the day, the Coyotes, in now typical fashion, emerged strong. In the very first event of the day, Coyotes Alba Hargreaves and Breanna Hustwitt both set new personal best times in the Tyke girls 1200m race, finishing 4th and 5th respectively, with Alba just missing the podium after a strong kick to the finish.
Over the next hour, nine additional Coyotes stepped to the starting line in the 1500m race, with six of the Coyote athletes setting new personal best times.
Of note, Nathan Leary shaved 8 seconds off his previous personal best time in the Atom Boys race to finish 5th, while in the Senior girls 1500m race Kate Earle took an amazing 15 seconds off her previous best time to finish 12th.
The Senior, Intermediate and Youth categories were combined for the weekend as the older categories had very few athletes registered. In the boys’ heats, they grouped the slower Senior runners, age 13 and 14, with the Intermediate runners, age 15 and 16. This made for a unique combination, though it certainly created some excitement.
Coyote runner Ethan Mei was the top seeded Intermediate boy coming into the race and he ran a solid race, leading the pack by quite a margin and taking Gold in his category. The second heat of this mixed event held the top seeded Senior boys, age 13 and 14, and the Youth boys, age 17 and 18. The Coyote’s Senior boy, Emmett Leary, and a Youth runner from the Gazelle’s club made a quick getaway as the starter fired his gun, making it clear to the rest of the pack that they were taking control of the race. Emmett managed to draft the much older runner for most of the race finally making his move with about 400m remaining in the race. It was a tight finish, but Emmett managed to dip at the finish line to win the Senior Boys 1500m, knocking 11 seconds off his previous personal best and clocking the best time amongst the three divisions.
The next event of the day featured the Coyotes’ younger athletes as it was a shorter distance race, the 400m. Quite a few of the runners competing in this category were first time racers and they enjoyed testing out the rubberized and banked indoor track. Mite girl Madeline Armstrong put forth an excellent effort and finished first in her heat and third overall to take the bronze medal while Mite boy Bennett Hustwitt ran a solid race, placing first and taking the gold medal in the boys division.
The Coyotes were able to enjoy a lunch break with some fun and games before having to get back to business for their last event of the day, the 800m race. After getting their feet wet in the morning, many of the newer runners and even some of the veterans were showing that their experience racing was paying off. Many of the runners demonstrated a more controlled start and calculated racing strategy. This certainly was the case for Coyote Ella Kulakowsky, who played it smart and saved enough for a beautiful finishing kick that placed her first in the Atom girls race. The Coyote success continued as Isabel Spence won her heat in the Senior girls 800m finishing 8th overall, while Emmett Leary and Ethan Mei both won their races to claim their second gold medals of the day.
The team finished the day with some sweat, tears, and even some blood being shed, but teammates rallied around each other with encouragement and determination. Overall the team took home 11 medals, 24 top-six finishes and 24 new personal best times in the 36 events in which they competed. Congratulations to all who participated. For a full list of race results, or to find out more about the team, please visit their website: www.georgianbaycoyotes.com