On April 2 and 3, the Toronto Track & Field Centre played host to the 2022 Minor Track Association Provincial Indoor Championships.
Fourteen members of the Georgian Bay Coyotes Track Club were in attendance among the more than 540 registered athletes from across Ontario. The weekend was filled with fierce competition and resulted in some fantastic races. Once again, the Coyote athletes did themselves proud and came home with six medals and a dozen top 10 finishes.
Saturday started off with the 1200m and 1500m races and the Coyotes were out front early. Newcomer Alba Hargreaves was in the first race of the day; the Tyke girls 1200m race. She was calm on the line and when the starter’s gun fired, she was able to control her energy and excitement and took a place near the back of the pack. Over the next six laps of the 200m track she passed all the front runners, winning her heat easily. After the final heat had crossed, she ended up placing a well-deserved fourth place overall.
In the Tyke boys 1200m race two Coyotes, Joseph Spence and Liam MacInnes-Wiley, were also able to run a very smart race, controlling their pace and finishing strong in second and third overall. This was the first individual Provincial Championship medal for both Coyotes.
The older Coyotes then took to the track for the 1500m races and were well prepared for the competition. New personal best times were set by almost all the Coyote runners, including Bryson Cleland and Nathan Leary in the Atom Boys category, Isabel Spence and Olive Elkins in the Senior Girls category, with Isabel dropping an impressive 12 seconds from her previous best time set only a month ago to 5:39.92, and Emmett Leary, who dropped 9 seconds from his already impressive 1500m time to 4:44.97.
Saturday afternoon saw three Coyotes take to the track in the 400m sprints. Despite the Coyotes being known for their middle-distance speed they put on an impressive show in this very difficult sprint distance. In the first heat of the Mite boys 400m race, Coyote Caleb Cleland battled hard on the first lap of the two-lap race before easily taking the lead and winning his heat in an impressive time of 1:23.75. In the second heat, Tobin Goodman, also from the Georgian Bay Coyotes, followed suit and led his heat from start to finish, crossing in 1:24.97. After the times for the heats were combined Caleb and Tobin finished first and second respectively, also winning their first individual Provincial Championship medals.
On Sunday, after some well-earned rest, the Coyotes were back on the track for the 800m races. The competition fields were deep in these races and the Coyotes managed to shine through again.
Of the 13 Coyotes who toed the line on Sunday, all 13 set new personal best times with Caleb Cleland, Alba Hargreaves, Joseph Spence, Ella Kulakowsky, Bryson Cleland, and Emmett Leary all winning their individual heats. Caleb Cleland ran a very impressive time in the Mite Boys 800m to take first and claim his second gold medal of the Championships.
Joseph Spence managed to capture another second place medal of the Championships, winning his heat but dropping a position to the winner of the final heat.
In the Senior Girls 800m, Isabel Spence was able to win her heat in a very exciting finish. In true Coyote fashion, Isabel was able to control the excitement of the start and settle into a quick pace at the back of the pack. Over the course of the four-lap race, she managed to claw herself toward the front of the pack, and on the last corner of the race one of her competitors used some dirty tactics to drive her to the very outside lane. Isabel managed to keep her composure and sprinted hard all the way to the finish along the outside line of the track.
Overall, it was a very exciting weekend, with Coyotes setting new personal best times in 24 of the 26 races in which they entered. Their coach Steve Leary couldn’t be more proud of the athletes both for their running and how they represented the club and our community at the Championships.
The Coyote Coaches received numerous comments and questions about where Meaford gets so many talented runners. The community should be proud of all the hard work these athletes put in to compete at this high level of competition.
The team is now on a well deserved two-week break from training but will resume for their summer season on April 19. For more results on the weekend or to find out information about the club or to become a member, please visit their website at www.georgianbaycoyotes.com.