A ‘freight train’ on track
‘She’s outstanding,’ says Westview coach Johnson of 200-metre powerhouse Redhead
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.
Westview’s Janelle Redhead pulls away in the senior girls’ 200 metres.