Trinity Shadd-Ceres is one of Canada’s top young track and field athletes and arguably one of the busiest on Team Ontario at the Canada Summer Games.
But the track is only half of the 15-year-old’s athletic repertoire. While one of her goals is to eventually hold the Canadian long jump record, she is also an accomplished volleyball player who dreams of one day playing for Canada at the Olympics.
“Right now my options are open,” she said. “I lean more towards volleyball and do athletics in my off-season. [sport] because it’s really good cross-training, track helps volleyball.
Shadd-Ceres won three gold medals in her spectacular OFSAA (Ontario High School) debut in June, winning the 100 meters, 200 meters and long jump.
She is competing in the long jump, 100 and 4×100 relay for Ontario at the Canada Games in the Niagara region of southern Ontario, where the athletics are one of the highlights of Week 2 .
Shadd-Ceres originally hoped to play volleyball at the Games but opted to focus on the track this summer in hopes of competing at the recent Under-20 World Championships in Cali, Colombia. She was eventually told she was too young for this team.
Her personal best long jump of 6.35 meters at the Ontario Canada Games Trials would have placed her fifth at the U20 World Championships.
The U20 Canadian record is 6.52 meters set 20 years ago by Krysha Bayley. Christabel Nettey’s senior Canadian record is 6.99.
Despite her stellar results on the track, Shadd-Ceres said her heart really was in volleyball.
“It’s a team sport,” she says. “You have to do your part, but there’s less pressure, I guess. I really am an overthinker and an on-track perfectionist. If I’m wrong once, that’s just me. When I mess up in volleyball, like it’s my fault, but it’s not like all the pressure is on me.
In volleyball, there are “so many opportunities” in a match to make up for a missed play.
Shadd-Ceres grew up in a family of athletes. Her mother, Crystal Shadd, was a two-sport NCAA athlete in track and field and volleyball, specializing in the triple jump. His uncle Kenen Shadd was also an NCAA triple jumper.
“My mom is actually very supportive. She doesn’t care about the sport I do. She just wants me to be happy,” Shadd-Ceres said.
She is really happy to be back in both sports after two years of closures and cancellations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shadd-Ceres, who started both track and field and volleyball aged 10, said she spent part of lockdown training at her family’s small home gym .
“My mom was a professional athlete, so she knows what she’s doing when it comes to training, so I would get my training sessions from her. Volleyball I would go to the park and work on my passing or shooting. The track, when we were actually allowed to practice, was practicing in the fields.
COVID-19 forced the postponement of the Canada Summer Games for a year.
Although the age of eligibility differs from sport to sport at the Canada Games, it is under 25 as of December 31, 2022 for athletics. Athletes also cannot have competed for a senior national team or at a major international competition such as a world championship.
Despite her young age, Shadd-Ceres was the top qualifier in the women’s long jump on Tuesday at Brock University’s Canada Games Park. Her jump of 6.10 meters was just short of the Canada Games record of 6.19 set by Sandra Latrace in 2017.
She finished fifth in qualifying for the 100 meters, despite having hardly done any sprint training recently due to a nagging Achilles tendon injury. The women’s 100m final is on Friday and the long jump final is on Saturday.
The Canada Summer Games has a who’s who of track and field alumni. Olympic champion sprinters Bruny Surin and Andre De Grasse and Olympic heptathlon bronze medalist Brianne Theisen-Eaton are among the athletes who competed at the Games.
The Canadian women’s volleyball team, meanwhile, has not qualified for the Olympics since 1996 in Atlanta. Shadd-Ceres, who plays left side for the Kitchener-Waterloo Predators volleyball club and coach Paul Pavan – father of world beach volleyball champion Sarah Pavan – said she was confident that with the level of talent of young women of her age, that currency.
“There are actually a lot of talented up-and-coming athletes in volleyball, track and field, literally any sport.”
The Canada Games run until Sunday.