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The NEOAA Track & Field Meet makes a triumphant return

The NEOAA Track and Field Championships made a triumphant return to the Timmins Regional Track and Field Complex on Wednesday.

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The NEOAA Track and Field Championships made a triumphant return to the Timmins Regional Track and Field Complex on Wednesday.

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It was the first time the meeting had taken place since 2019, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

And the two-year absence only seemed to make athletes across the region more determined than ever to give it their all in the hope of earning a spot at the 2022 OFSAA Athletics Championships at the Toronto Track & Field Center in York University on June 2. -4.

“Due to COVID-19, we have been unable to hold any track and field events, including track and field,” said Colin Sullivan, NEOAA event organizer and head of the school delegation. high school and vocational school in Timmins.

“So it was good for the kids to come out and be able to compete again.”

This year’s NEOAA event drew approximately 250 high school athletes from as far south as New Liskeard and as far north as Hearst, up from the approximately 200 typical entries in previous years.

“We saw a small influx of participation and there were schools from some of the smaller areas that we hadn’t seen participate in a few years,” Sullivan said.

“(Catholic High School) Thériault probably had the largest group, with over 50 athletes.

“Timiskaming (District Secondary School) and Timmins High (& Vocational School) both had around 40 athletes and Roland Michener (Secondary School) had close to 40 as well, so very good numbers, compared to pre-COVID-19.

“I don’t know if it has anything to do with COVID-19 or not. Maybe it was just the kids wanting to go out and compete, do something for fun, but it was good to see, that’s for sure.

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The conditions for the encounter – cloudy skies, with temperatures below or below 20°C and little wind – were close to ideal.

“You probably couldn’t ask for a better day,” Sullivan said.

“Sometimes it’s too hot and the kids are in the sun and it can just wear them out and they lose their energy.

“Other times you have windy or cool conditions and it’s usually not favorable for show jumping events.

“It sort of confuses the athletes with their cadence and pace for these events.

“There wasn’t a lot of wind today, which was great, and it wasn’t too hot, and we had really good times in the sprints and really good times in the middle distance races. also.”

Unsurprisingly, a number of NEOAA records were broken and set on Wednesday.

Ella McCarty of O’Gorman High School broke the NEOAA Novice Girls Javelin record with a throw of 34.32 yards.

Additionally, her teammate, Maycee Vierimaa, set a pair of NEOAA records, in the visually impaired women’s 100 meters, with a time of 16.09, and the visually impaired women’s shot put, with a throw of 8.15 meters, as both were new events. .

And Chanell Duffy of Englehart High School sent a new standard in the women’s 2,000-metre open steeplechase, finishing the course in a time of 8:11.66.

Thériault athletes won 24 events to qualify for the OFSAA, while TH&VS athletes won 13 events, O’Gorman athletes won seven events and RMSS athletes won five events.

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Maxime Girard of Renaissance Public High School releases a shot during the novice men's discus event at the 2022 NEOAA Track and Field Championships at the Timmins Regional Track and Field Complex on Wednesday.  Girard finished second in the event, behind Gage McKenzie of Timmins High and Vocational School.  THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS
Maxime Girard of Renaissance Public High School releases a shot during the novice men’s discus event at the 2022 NEOAA Track and Field Championships at the Timmins Regional Track and Field Complex on Wednesday. Girard finished second in the event, behind Gage McKenzie of Timmins High and Vocational School. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

Although the representatives of Renaissance Public High School did not win any event, they achieved strong results at the event.

“Winners automatically qualify to go to OFSAA, and then it’s up to the coach’s discretion if they want to sign up a second-place forward,” Sullivan said.

“We kind of call it the joker. How it works is that the second place athlete has to perform better than the second place athletes in Sudbury, North Bay and Sault Ste. Quarters Mary.

“We have to wait for their results. They have a two-day meeting and then we’ll see if any of the second-place athletes can advance.

Prior to COVID-19, Theriault tended to dominate athletics and although they won Wednesday’s competition, with 576 points, the other schools in Timmins also put in strong performances.

TH&VS finished fourth, with 378 points, RMSS fifth with 221 points, O’Gorman sixth, with 166 points, and Renaissance 10th, with 76 points.

“I started working at Timmins High (& Vocational School) around 2010 and we had a pretty small team, I think about 10 or 12 athletes,” Sullivan said.

“Fortunately, we had coaches who came to help us because in athletics you need to have several coaches to have a good team because there are so many disciplines.

“I think we saw that with Roland Michener (secondary school) too.

“I think that’s what really helps a high school program to have that number of coaches, so you’re able to help every athlete in all of their different disciplines.

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“There are so many different types of events and so many different types of athletes.”

Taking off his organizing hat to focus on his TH&VS athletes, Sullivan was impressed with what he saw on Wednesday.

“In novice men, Gage McKenzie won all three throwing disciplines (shot put, discus and javelin),” he said.

“It was a great accomplishment for him.

“Ian Little, a senior male on his final lap, also won the 800m, 1,500m and 3,000m.

“Keenyah Murray, a junior female, won the 100m, 200m, 300m hurdles and she was also part of the winning team in the senior women’s 4x100m relay, so she won four gold medals .

“It was great. She must be tired.

“Mackenzie Innes, a senior woman, won the 100 meters and also the 200 meters.

Sullivan expects the success of athletes from all Timmins high schools to have a positive impact on recruiting the next wave of track and field stars.

“I really hope it does,” he said.

“In 2019, Corbin Deblois won Gold for Timmins High (& Vocational School) in the Junior Men’s High Jump at OFSAA.”

Part of the reason this year’s NEOAA meeting was such a success is the small army of volunteers who helped out with the various events.

“I guess we probably had about 30 or 40 volunteers, mostly students, and about 10 or 15 adults,” Sullivan said.

“It’s very important, because it would be a difficult event to organize without these volunteers.

“I would really like to thank them.”

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