Track athletes from Princess Alexandra and Diamond Jenness Secondary School came back from Edmonton with medals, NWT records, and new goals for the upcoming outdoor season.
“It was awesome,” said Brooke Schaefer. “There were a lot of people there and it was a lot more competitive. A lot of people had been there before and had trained really hard to get there.”
The team from Hay River won one silver and three bronze medals, along with earning 12 top-10 finishes and achieving 13 NWT records at the meet, held at the University of Alberta Butterdome in Edmonton March 1 and 2.
Coach Joe LeBlanc said he was proud of all the athletes and that as a result of the meet – the only one the team could attend this season due to the distance from southern regional centres – they now have better information on which to base their training for the next season.
“The kids did really well, and they were up against the best in Alberta,” he told The Hub.
“This gives them numbers to base their training on for the outdoor season. They know they have to push it for a few things.”
Schaefer said she was surprised at the level of competition she encountered at the meet and would be training harder to meet her goals.
“This isn’t the Hay River track meet,” she said laughing.
Madison McPhee won silver in the 60 metre sprint in her second year attending the meet, and said she was pleased with the result.
“Coach says all you have to do is better than the last time, or at least stay the same,” she said. “I’d gone last year, so really, you’re just racing yourself.”
McPhee said the first year had been about the experience and having fun, but that this year was more about the competition. Her teammate Fiona Huang, however, was there for the first time and despite a third-place finish in the triple-jump, said she had learned a lot from the experience.
“I’ve never ran on an indoor track before,” she said, adding that she has learned about the level of competition as well as pacing in the long-distance races.
“But the best part was meeting new people and hanging out with the team.”
LeBlanc said athletes from Hay River are at a disadvantage when it comes to indoor track running because they can’t run inside for more than a 60-stretch in the halls of the school.
“They’re building 200 metre indoor tracks everywhere,” he said. “Maybe with the new rec centre we can get a walking track and be able to train there. The kids have the ability, we just need to make sure they have the coaching and the facilities to reach their potential.”