A ‘freight train’ on track

‘She’s out­stand­ing,’ says Westview coach John­son of 200-me­tre pow­er­house Red­head

Toronto Star - - Sports - DAVID GROSS­MAN SPORTS RE­PORTER

Welles­ley John­son, the re­spected high school track and field coach, says he hasn’t seen any­one run quite as fast as Janelle Red­head.

Red­head, who came to Canada last sum­mer from Gre­nada, yes­ter­day had spectators at Eto­bi­coke Cen­ten­nial Sta­dium talk­ing about her win­ning next month’s pro­vin­cial high school fi­nal in the se­nior girls’ 200 me­tres.

Sen­sa­tional on the last day of the Metro Re­gion­als track and field fi­nals, Red­head wants to do more than just win gold.

She’s talk­ing about an On­tario high school record, cur­rently owned by Sher­ine Wells, her friend at Toronto’s Westview Cen­ten­nial Sec­ondary.

Wells, 19, was banned by the Toronto Dis­trict School Board last week, just days be­fore the city’s North Re­gion qual­i­fiers be­cause of a league rule that pro­hibits stu­dents over 18 years of age from com­pet­ing.

Red­head, who is 18 and in Grade 11, a de­ci­sion made by the TDSB based on Gre­na­dian ed­u­ca­tional tran­scripts, may have also run her last race in Toronto.

The same rule pre­vent­ing Wells from com­pet­ing, is ex­pected to keep Red­head out of com­pe­ti­tion in her grad­u­at­ing year.

Yes­ter­day, Red­head put on a dis­play of power tak­ing top spot in the 200 me­tres in 24.48 sec­onds — well off her per­sonal best of 23.82. She even had time to glance be­hind her to check on how close her com­pe­ti­tion was.

The OFSAA record is 23.78 set by Wells last June in Ottawa.

But Red­head, who also won the 100 and 400 me­tres on Wed­nes­day, beat Wells a few weeks ago at the Car­di­nal Carter Clas­sic — one of the largest in­vi­ta­tional meets in the coun­try.

“Track is my life,” said Red­head, who will com­pete for Gre­nada in July at the World Ju­nior Games in Poland. “Take away the cold weather, and I know my times are even bet­ter.”

While Toronto-area ath­letes are now aware of Red­head’s prow­ess, the rest of On­tario is in for a sur­prise.

“She’s out­stand­ing and enough of a show­case that schools in Michi­gan, Ken­tucky and Kansas are al­ready ask­ing ques­tions,” said Westview’s John­son. “She doesn’t have the get up and go at the start of a race but, af­ter 40 me­tres, she comes at you like a freight train.”

In other high­lights, Mikel Poldma proved he’s more than just a tal­ented hockey player by win­ning his third field event in two days.

Poldma, who at­tends Wind­fields Ju­nior High, eas­ily won the midget boys’ dis­cus with a throw of 39.42 me­tres.

And the Birch­mount Park boys’ track team piled up a bunch of wins.

In the ju­nior 200 me­tres, Aaron Brown came first with a time of 22.35, while Merid Se­leshi eas­ily won the 800 me­tres in 2:01.87. An­dre Hamil­ton won the se­nior boys’ 200 me­tres in 21.76 sec­onds while team­mate Ian Warner was run­nerup in 21.82. Matthew Kopan­sky dom­i­nated the se­nior 3,000 me­tres while Birch­mount Park’s 4x400-me­tre re­lay team was timed in a win­ning 3:23.50.

Re­sults,

COLIN MCCON­NELL/TORONTO STAR

Westview’s Janelle Red­head pulls away in the se­nior girls’ 200 me­tres.

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