Haliburton Highlands track team will soar

By Darren Lum

May 10 2016

The sun is shining and optimism is high for the Red Hawks track and field team.

With its 25 members the team includes athletes from every grade who will compete in the pits on the track and in the throwing arena.

Coach Bruce Griffith is beaming about the team’s prospects for success and growth which is related to the team’s make up.

“We have fun. We have some serious athletes and some that just want to be part of the team and that’s fine” he said. “I don’t turn kids away. It gets them out here and some you never know might be hidden gems.”

He’s confident in his throwers such as Ryan Hill and Chase Burden who he says have the potential to go one-two.

“We’re really good at javelin. We’re going to dominate javelin” he said.

Hill a javelin all-provincial finalist for two years is not only competing in javelin but also long jump and the 4×100 metre relay. He finished in third for javelin at the East Region Track and Field event to advance to the all-provincials last year.

Another athlete with high expectations is Kenndal Marsden an all-provincial finalist who earned a fourth place at East Region in 200 metres. She will be competing in the 200 metres the long jump and the 4 x100 metres senior girls’ relay event.

Griffith is being assisted in the pits with Russ Duhaime who is helping with the triple jumpers and the long jumpers.

New to the team is Grade 9 athlete Coleman Heaven. He said he has potential and will compete in the 1500 metres the 300 metre hurdles and the long jump.

Another Grade 9 student athlete is Connor Spence who the coach knows well from football and remembers his speed which will serve him well in the sprint events of the 100 metres and 200 metres.

Minden’s Sean Walker who also carried the Pan Am Games torch down Bobcaygeon Road in Minden is another Grade 9 who has had success in running throughout elementary school. He will compete in the 800 metres and the long jump.

Second year runner Sam Longo will be looking for a strong finish in the 1500 metre and the 800 metre races as he did last year.

Grade 11 Ryan Manning is doing something no on has done at HHSS since 1989 which is compete in the 2000 metre steeple chase. He is also competing in the 400 metre hurdles.

Zak Shantz and Nolan Flood both in Grade 10 are expected to be the future for javelin.

“They’re the next ones” he said. “They’re going to be good. They’re both good athletes and they both have long limbs and both are working hard to get better.”

He also expects Grade 12 student athlete Shae MacNaull to do well in javelin because she has completely overhauled her throwing technique and has come into the season at her strongest he said. He believes she can throw 34 metres which should be good enough to advance to the all-provincials.

The team will not have athletes in the 400 metres pole vault and the high jump.

Interest was lacking for the 400 metres and the jumping events are not included in competition anymore.

The team’s 4×100 metre relay teams for senior girls and senior boys he expects to do well.

The 4 x 100 metre relay senior girls’ team includes Brynn Meyers Mackenzie Henderson MacNaull and Marsden.

There is an outside chance the midget boys 4 x 100 metre relay will be competitive he said.

The team’s first test is the Kawartha Track and Field Championship on May 12 at Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School in Peterborough.