The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on the mental and physical well-being of the youth across the country but if you were track-side at the Terry Fox Stadium in Brampton this past weekend, September 4/5, you would hardly know it. More than 500 young athletes from across the province competed in the Minor Track Association (MTA) Ontario Provincial Championships. Last year’s competition was cancelled due to COVID so this was the first championship meet held since October 2019.
The Georgian Bay Coyotes Track Club, who train at the old GBCS athletic field in Meaford, sent five athletes to compete over the two days of competition and they were well prepared to race with the province’s best. They competed in ten events and achieved new personal best times in all ten races, while taking home one gold, two silver, three bronze, two 4th place finishes, and a very respectable 7th and 8th place finish amid some very tough competition.
Saturday morning started off with the Tyke girls 1200m race. Ella Kulakowsky was the only Coyote to toe the line for the Coyotes and she looked confident taking the lead at the mid-point of the race. She couldn’t quite hold on to the lead and finished second, knocking nine seconds off her previous personal best time.
Next to the line for the Coyotes was Jacob Martindill in the Tyke boys 1200m. Jacob ran a very well paced and steady race and with 150m left in the race he kicked hard trying to close ground on the third place runner but was edged at the line by five tenths of a second, finishing in 4th place.
The Atom girls 1500m race saw Kate Earle of Meaford stepping to the line. The excitement of the race had her going out hard at the start of the race and she held on to finish 7th overall, knocking an unbelievable 40 seconds off her previous personal best time from the start of the season. In the Atom boys 1500m race Meaford’s Emmett Leary used his training and racing knowledge to his advantage and stayed calm while a small group of runners broke into an early lead during the fast start. He kept his pace consistent throughout the race and was able to catch the other runners and take the lead with about 600m remaining in the race. Emmett kicked hard with about 400m left in the race and created a sizeable gap between himself and the other runners and pushed hard through the finish line to take first place and the Provincial title.
The final race of the day for the Coyotes saw Ethan Mei, also from Meaford, in the senior boys 1500m race. Ethan was a bit nervous at the line but he soon put his nerves aside as he went out strong with the lead pack of runners. As was the case in the previous race for the Coyotes, Ethan took the lead and started a hard finishing kick with about 400m remaining in the race. Despite the surprise of the hard early kick, three other runners were able to keep pace and stay with the lead pack. In the final stretch a runner from Toronto was able to out-sprint the others, with Ethan taking 2nd place and earning his first provincial championship medal.
Sunday morning saw another great day of racing with four Georgian Bay Coyote members competing in the 800m timed finals. With 108 competitors registered to compete in the 800m race the competition was stiff and the day saw some amazing performances from our athletes. Jacob Martindill from Owen Sound raced to his second 4th place finish of the championships in the Tyke boys 800m race, knocking 14 seconds of his personal best time. Kate Earle, who came in to the competition ranked 13th overall ran a great race and dug deep to finish third in her heat and 8th place overall, knocking more than 13 seconds off her previous best time. Emmett Leary, fresh off his win from the previous day, came into this shorter race ranked 7th overall but got a good lane draw in the faster of the two heats and got himself into a good position with the lead runners right off the start. As he did the previous day, Emmett made a break with 400m remaining in the race but two of the other runners were able to chase him down in the final 150m of the race. He placed 3rd overall, knocking three seconds off his previous personal best time. The final race of the day for the Coyotes was the senior boys 800m and Ethan Mei was ready to take on the challenge. Ethan also got a good position in the fastest of the heats as the athletes took the race out hard. The pace slowed throughout the race as the athletes tired from the fast start, with Ethan crossing the line in 3rd place.
Overall, it was a great weekend of racing for the young Coyotes and they were well-rewarded for their hard work. The Georgian Bay Coyotes are now preparing for the fall Cross-Country season. The team is working on organizing its annual cross-country race in Meaford on September 25. This race will be open to children from Grades 1-8 and registration will be online via the website. For more information on the team please visit www.georgianbaycoyotes.com