Hyacks gain momentum en route to provincials

The New Westminster Secondary track and field team will head to Kelowna next week with a full head of steam.

The squad gathered more momentum from a well-rounded performance at last week’s zone championships, which pitted Burnaby-New West athletes against their Richmond counterparts.

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The New West boys team accumulated a category-best 96 points, finishing ahead of district rival Burnaby Mountain. They also secured the second-best total in senior girls division with 80 points, trailing Burnaby Central’s 89.

Some of the medals came in dramatic fashion.

Jeremy Belcher captured the senior boys 100-metre dash, edging R.A. McMath’s Liam McLeod with a time of 11.38 seconds – just a hundredth-of-a-second between the two.

“It was a huge highlight, certainly Jeremy was hoping to do it,” said New West track coach Bryan McMaster. “He started out behind and just kept pushing and edged (McLeod) out at the last second.”

It was a sign of things to come, as the Hyacks tallied its share of victories at the meet.

Ryan Jensen would take gold in the senior boys 110m hurdles with a time of 18.54, and finish second in the 400m hurdles.

On the senior girls side, Emma Dolman, Kaitlyn Hanger, Cheyenne McLelland, Salina Ng and Lauryn Savela each copped a top time or distance in their respective events. Dolman picked up the girls 400m hurdle crown with a time of 1:13.04, McLelland prevailed in the 1500m race walk with a time of 13:55.40, while Ng finished first in the 800m with a 2:41.77. Hanger hit 37.83m in the hammerthrow, while Savela posted a javelin gold with a throw of 33.52m.

Then the senior girls 4x100m relay team torched the competition for gold, winning by nearly 20m. That quartet, featuring juniors Kimi Tam, Ella Foster, Anja Tjernagel and Dolman, is emblematic of the Hyacks youthful roster.

“They ran a real strong race, and to have three Grade 10s and a Grade 11 together this year, and likely next year again, is real promising,” said McMaster.

For Tjernagel, who anchored the 4x100, it was just one of four gold medals she carted off with at the meet. The 15-year-old may be the fourth sibling to wear Hyack orange in track and field, but she’s doing it in her own way, said McMaster.

“Anja takes a different approach to track than her siblings,” the coach noted. “She does it because she enjoys it. Her siblings (Lexi, Raquel and Benjamin) also enjoyed it, but it was a big focus for them. (Anja)’s real talent and potential is in basketball, but she’s enjoying track and setting personal goals.”

She won the junior girls 100m with a time of 12.91, reached a personal best of 5.17m in the long jump, and topped the triple jump with a distance of 9.83.

Foster won the junior girls pole vault with a clearance of 3.04m, while on the junior boys circuit, Mahad Amen Ali led the 1500m race with a time of 4:32.40.

McMaster expects a team of approximately 15 athletes to make the trip for the provincials May 30 to June 1 in Kelowna.

Here are more New West and Glenbrook athletes’ results from the zone meet: GIRLS, senior – Emma Dolman, 1st 400h; Kaitlyn Hanger, 1st HT, 2nd SP; Cheyenne McLelland, 1st 1500rw, 3rd jav; Salina Ng, 1st 800, 3rd 400; Lauryn Savela, 1st jav. Junior – Monika Arcadi, 2nd 800, 1500st, 4th HJ; Ella Foster, 1st PM; Emma Hillaby (GL), 2nd HT; Kimi Tam, 2nd 100, 200; Anja Tjernagel, 1st 100, LJ, TJ. Grade 8 (Glenbrook) – Angela Arana, 1st TJ, 4th 800; Emma Hillaby, 5th jav; Avery Tamagi, 2nd 1500; Naylani Uy, 2nd 80h.

BOYS, senior – Karl Arcadi, 2nd 800; Jeremy Belcher, 1st 100, 4th 200; Ben Jansen-Budzik, 4th 800; Ryan Jensen, 1st 110h, 2nd 400h; Pavan Kainth, 3rd SP; Nazaric Rivas, 2nd SP. Junior – Santi Ainslie, 4th 1500, 1500st; Mahad Amen Ali, 1st 1500, 2nd 3000; Evan Beckers, 4th 3000; Roman Nikolaev, 5th TJ; Aiden Post, 3rd HT. Grade 8 (Glenbrook) – Noah Duke, 1st 800, 200h; Aiden Post, 2nd 200h, 5th SP; Alex Ross, 4th jav, 5th 800.

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