Cowichan Secondary School’s Grade 9 athletes dominated the Island track and field championships on May 18 and 19, and other Valley schools weren’t far behind.
Cow High topped the Grade 9 boys standings at the Island meet in Victoria, and finished second behind traditional track powerhouse Oak Bay in the Grade 9 girls standings.
Frances Kelsey, meanwhile, placed fourth in the Grade 9 boys standings and sixth among Grade 9 girls teams, while Queen of Angels placed fifth on the boys side and 13th on the girls side.
There is no official provincial championship meet for Grade 9 athletes — although there is an invitational alongside the junior and senior provincials — but if such a meet did exist, and if the top five in each event at Islands qualified for provincials, as is the case at the junior and senior levels, Cow High would have 24 qualifiers, Kelsey would have 11, Q of A would have six, and Lake Cowichan would have one.
Leading the way for Cowichan Secondary were two double gold medallists: Madeline Pollock, who won the girls 100m and 200m races, and Gavin Pringle, who topped the boys shot put and javelin. Both Pollock and Pringle also medalled in their respective long jump events, Pollock taking silver and Pringle bronze.
Oliver Castle won gold for Cow High in the boys 1500m and added silver in the 800m, and Dredyn Fontana placed first in the boys 3000m and fifth in the 800m.
Silver medallists for Cow High included Mackenzie Hall in the girls high jump and Nicholas Young in the boys shot put. Matt Day collected bronze medals in the boys 3000m and high jump, while Jessica Castle placed third in the girls 1500m, Madi Jumeau was third in the girls high jump, and Harley MacDonald finished third in the boys high jump.
Fourth-place results went to Michael Huang in the boys 100m, Adrion Banks in the boys 200m, Lorne Heyward in the boys discus, Liam Simmonds in the boys shot put, and Troy Cowan in the boys high jump. Kiera Martin placed fifth in the girls high jump, and Ashley Oud was fifth in the girls triple jump.
Frances Kelsey had a pair of gold medallists: Robin de Valk Zaiss in the girls 400m and Joao Quinonez in the boys 200m. Quinonez also picked up a bronze in the boys 400m.
Marissa Morris earned silver in the girls 100m, and Evan Kwasny placed second in the boys discus. The girls 4x100m relay team of Olivia Young, Rebecca Jones, Esme Ellison and Paige Hurford finished with the bronze medal.
Kelsey relay teams placed fourth and fifth in the girls 4x400m event, with the team of Angelina Hollihn, Lucy Croasdale, Brynn Little and Paige Hurford edging out Ashley Nikkel, Peyton Hogg, Amy Nikkel and Lauren McCrae. Alexander Blair-Audy also placed fourth in the boys 3000m, and the school got fifth-place finishes from Ole Mackay in the boys 200m and its boys 4x100m relay team.
Jason Brandt of Queen of Angels brought home the gold for the boys 100m and took bronze in discus, and also led off for the school’s bronze medal 4x400m relay team that included Talon Hird, Daniel Larson and Owen Ketch.
The Q of A girls 4x400m relay team of Eachoe Siatecki, Danaca Lauzon, Kamryn McLeay and Kevanna Thorne finished second. Siatecki also placed fifth in the girls high jump, and Larson placed fifth in the boys long jump.
Lake Cowichan Secondary’s lone top-five finish came from Jordyn Waller, who took the bronze medal in the girls shot put.