Tough decision has golden lining
Hurdler wins gold the day after he was a scratch
Tyler Fawcett of Chesterville made the hardest decision of his young life Friday at his final Ontario high school track and field championships.
In the end, it proved to be the right choice. The gold medal around the North Dundas High School student’s neck was the absolute proof.
Two minutes before the start of the senior boys’ 110-metre hurdles on Friday, Fawcett walked away from the starting blocks and scratched from the race because of a sore hamstring.
It was a painful decision because he had the second-best seed time and was a medal favourite.
Yesterday, Fawcett put in a commanding performance to win the 400metre hurdles, with his friend, Stu Pearson of South Carleton, finishing second.
Fawcett smoothly circled the track in 53.48 seconds, while Pearson, who posted the fastest heat time with a clocking of 55.01, crossing the line in 55.46.
The 1-2 Fawcett-Pearson finish was the highlight of a stellar day for Ottawa-area athletes, who concluded the provincial championships at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility with 11 medals: five gold, two silver and four bronze.
The select circle of gold medallists was completed by Colonel By’s Segun Makinde, who set a provincial high school record in the junior boys’ 200 metres. Others winning gold included Hillcrest’s Danelle Woods in the senior girls’ 3,000 metres, Colonel By’s Lindsay Anderson in the junior girls’ 3,000 metres, and Earl of March’s Dylan Barnabe in the junior girls’ 300-metre hurdles.
Other medals included a silver by Sacred Heart’s Patrick Arbour in senior boys’ discus and bronzes by Colonel By’s Sarah Gariba (junior girls’ 200 metres), De La Salle’s Paul Ausman (junior boys’ javelin), Earl of March’s Spencer da Costa (junior boys’ high jump) and Carleton Place’s Kane Abbis-Mills (midget boys’ javelin).
The gold-medal moment of the three-day championships belonged to Andrew Heaney of Cardinal Newman in Scarborough, who set a Canadian interscholastic and Ontario high school record in the senior boys’ 800 metres.
Twenty-five Ontario records were set during the championships, including 13 yesterday.
Heaney won his race in one minute 48.26 seconds, erasing the 15-year-old record of 1:48.64 set by Canadian great Kevin Sullivan of Brantford, Ont.
Fawcett worked around the pain in his 400-metre hurdles final by using his left leg as his lead leg to clear the hurdles.
“For the 110 hurdles, I had a sore hamstring … and two minutes before the race, I decided I’d better not run. I’m going to the Pan Am Juniors in Brazil this summer,” he said.
“I watched the race and was getting feelings of regret. I knew I could run a good race and maybe win or get a medal. It was the hardest decision of my life.”
Despite taking a conservative approach yesterday, Fawcett still won the 400-metre hurdles by a large margin over Pearson, who tightened up at the end.
Makinde, who has been a serious sprinter for only the past nine months, shattered the Ontario high school record of 22.75 seconds with a time of 21.74 in front of 2,000 cheering spectators.
His time qualified him to be considered for Canada’s world youth track and field championships team.
“I knew I had to stay strong and push through no matter what,” said Makinde, 15. “It’s unbelievable. I put it all on the track.”
Anderson was ready to accept a bronze medal with about 250 metres left in the junior girls’ 3,000 metres when she decided to test her sprinting ability.
It was a wise decision as she passed leader Stephanie Hulse of Holy Cross 70 metres before the finish, winning with a time of 10:13.78, four seconds better than her previous personal best.
“I don’t think it gets any better than that,” Anderson said. “I feel ecstatic.”
Barnabe continued her amazing season by winning the junior girls’ 300-metre hurdles in a career-best 44.49. She has shaved 5.5 seconds off her time this season.
She was second in the 80-metre hurdles Friday and fourth in the high jump yesterday at 1.55 metres.
In her final high school race, Wood chased the record of 9:30.64 before settling for a respectable time of 9:38.89.
“It’s sad it’s over,” said Woods, who will now enter the University of Illinois on a full athletic scholarship. “This whole year, I’ve prepared for this weekend. For me, it was the finale. It’s a bit overwhelming. I look forward to my new start.”
Arbour’s second-place finish in the senior boys’ discus with a disappointing 46.67 metres gave him his second medal of the championships. He set a personal-best of 59.96 metres for bronze in the javelin.
In the junior boys’ high jump, da Costa improved his personal best by seven centimetres, matching his objective of jumping 1.90 metres to win bronze.
Ausman earned bronze in the junior boys’ javelin when his final throw travelled 52.01 metres.
Gariba ran 25.81 seconds for the bronze in the junior girls’ junior 200metre final.
Abbis-Mills placed third in the midget boys’ javelin with his throw of 49.89 metres. For complete results, visit www.ottawalions.com