New Westminster’s Wonder women helped do it again.
Senior sprinter Raquel Tjernagel and all-rounder Nina Schultz headlined the 48th annual B.C. high school track and field championships, winning six individual gold medals between them and figuring prominently in a seventh – the girls’ 4x400 metre relay.
The accumulation of medals was good enough to ensure the Hyacks’ track team a second consecutive girls’ and overall aggregate banner for New Westminster that made school history last year with its first-ever provincial banners in track and field.
Schultz won the meet’s most outstanding female athlete honour for a second straight year, winning the long jump, high jump and triple jump to go along with a second consecutive provincial heptathlon title she won two weeks earlier.
Tjernagel, who defended her provincial high school titles in both the 100 and 200m, did not compete in the 400m, where she set the fastest time in the world to date, breaking the 53-second barrier, at that distance in her age group earlier in the season.
Both girls were at their best in the relay as well, finishing off the meet with spectacular relay legs.
After junior varsity relay partners Emily Chilton and Grace Fetherstonhaugh did their part, Schultz took the baton in sixth place and moved up three places before handing off to Tjernagel for the anchor leg.
The Coquitlam Cheetah sprinter took the baton trailing well behind the leaders but proceeded to reel in the front runners, catching them all by the final 200 metres and coming down the stretch with a 10-metre lead before crossing the finish almost two seconds ahead of the runner-up in a winning time of 4:03.03.
“I just knew Raquel would take it home,” said Schultz after the race.
“We all pushed hard,” added Tjernagel. “I always find it fun running with the team. We always push each other.”
Although well off the provincial record in the relay, Tjernagel and Schultz defended last year’s titles, posting big numbers in their respective victories.
Tjernagel defeated St. Thomas More Collegiate rival and runner-up Zion Corrales-Nelson to win the 100m for a second straight season and successfully defend the 200m for a third consecutive year, clocking winning times of 11.76 and 24.34, respectively.
Schultz also defended her B.C. high school titles in the high jump and triple jump, while taking the long jump for the first time with a 5.69m leap. Schultz won the high jump at 1.75m and the triple jump, with a 11.64m leap.
“I’m pretty happy with it. I personally don’t care about the winning. It’s all about the results and getting better,” said Schultz.
Tjernagel was equally satisfied despite failing to break the provincial records in both sprints.
“I wanted to get both, it’s my last year. But I’m happy with that, it’s OK,” said Tjernagel.
Corrales-Nelson picked up a third straight senior metric quarter-mile gold medal with a winning time of 55.60. Her times in the 100 and 200m were also fast – an 11.96 in the sprint and 24.74 in the 200m.
“I just wanted to run a good race, but there is still a lot of work to do,” said Corrales-Nelson.
Elsewhere on the track, Burnaby Central’s Nathan Mah garnered a pair of bronze medals in the senior boys’ sprints, placing third in the 100m in a time 11.39 after posting the fastest time in the preliminary heats with a 11.08 clocking. Mah, who also helped the Wildcats’ relay teams to sixth place in the 4x100m and eighth in the 4x400m, picked up his second medal at 200m, with a 22.56 time.
“I PB’s in both. I’m taking track a little bit more seriously,” Mah said.
STM’s Samantha Landoldt also captured a medal at the provincial meet, finishing third place in the girls’ shot put following a 10.63m throw in the shot put. Landoldt also placed fifth in the javelin.
Finishing just off the podium in fourth place were Ben Steele for STM in the boys’ javelin and New West’s Shea Jobson-Stier in the boys’ 2,000m steeplechase.
Also making finals were Byrne Creek’s Kimberly Ma in the girls’ 100m hurdles, Racquel Milosavljevic of Central in the girls’ 100m, Joshua Juni of STM in the boys’ 800m and Marco Sherwood of Central in the boys’ long jump.
“We’re definitely running for individual pride, but it comes down to what you can do for the team,” said Juni, who will run track next year with Simon Fraser University.
New Westminster won a second straight aggregate title with 75 total points, 13 better than runner-up Reynolds from Victoria. Boys’ aggregate winner Vancouver College was third with 60 points. STM was next with 57.
New West also took the girls’ title for a second straight year over Cowichan and STM.
The Knights finished ninth, while Central placed 11th in the boys’ aggregate.