Coach Robert Esmie and the
Air Blastoff Lions are getting an early jump on the summer,
having competed at a handful of youth indoor track &
field meets in recent months - with very encouraging results.
Part of the masses that assembled
for the 2023 Ontario Indoor U16 & U20 Athletics Championships
in early March, local teens tested themselves against
the very best in the province, registering a number of
personal best performances with signs that there is plenty
still to come from this crew.
Out with an injury until
mid-December, Melina Doiron really went to town on her
training these past few months, earning her a PB in the
60m dash (8.11 - heats; 8.15 in final - 6th), the 300m
race (45.16 - 11th) and the 200m event (27.62 - 12th).
Making what amounts to more
her less her debut on the track scene after several years
of success on the equestrian circuits, Julia Arnold has
plenty of reason for optimism, clocking in at 8.54 (31st)
in the 60m sprint.
Just beginning her summer
training program, Olivia Ball gave herself a starting
point, clipping the finish line in 8.85 seconds in the
60m dash, good for 38th in her field.
Dealing with a very congested
chest, Jonas Petroski opted to compete regardless, sill
earning himself a pair of PB's in the 400m (59.59 - 47th)
and the 800m (2:22.00 - 88th) disciplines.
A few weeks later, nine year-old
Nehemiah Esmie was displaying his track and field versatility,
completing the tetrathlon and earning a gold medal in
his age bracket at the 2023 Rising Stars Festival at York
In terms of specific disciplines,
Esmie finished second in both the 60m hurdles (11.48 -
PB) as well as the shot put, also earning a 5th place
ribbon in the 60m dash (9.55 - PB) and adding the high
jump and 200m sprint to his very busy weekend schedule.
Ultimately, track may not
be the final athletic destination for the highly diversified
young man who has taken part in soccer and basketball
(at school), as well as MMA, and still has tennis, golf
and baseball on his bucket list.
Also competing at the meet
was Sudbury native Ava Bebawy, now training largely out
of the GTA, who garnered silver in the U12 60m hurdles
(10.72), bronze in the U12 60m dash (9.04) and placed
fourth in the 150m distance with a time of 22.25 seconds.
Representing the Lo-Ellen
Park Knights, the gold medley relay team of Julia Arnold,
Charlie Dulaney, Claire Schmidt and Milena Kulik, who
also took silver in the 4 X 200m relay, also enjoyed some
individual success in the form of: Kulik - gold in the
JG 60m dash (8.28); Arnold - silver in the SG 60m dash
(8.39) and Dulaney - fourth in the SG 60m dash (8.80).
Rounding out the list of
competitors with local ties was former gymnast and local
trackster Marin O'MalleyCalgary Spartans at the Alberta
Indoor Championships, recording a 5th place (200m - 26.96
- PB) and 6th place finish (60m dash - 8.06 - PB) in western