Cowichan relay team makes B.C. history

The record is theirs.

Four accomplished runners from Cowichan Secondary School took aim at the provincial high school record in the senior girls 4x100m relay, and in Langley last Saturday, they hit their mark.

Casey Heyd, Nicole Lindsay, Chicago Bains and Taryn Smiley ran the relay final in 48.27 seconds, nearly a quarter of a second better than the old record of 48.49, which had stood since 2007.

When anchor runner Smiley crossed the line, more than a second and a half ahead of the silver medal team from Rick Hansen Secondary, there was no doubt that the foursome had won their second provincial championship in as many years, and it didn’t take long for team to realize they had set the record. “As soon as the parents screamed, I knew we did it,” Lindsay said.

The initial feeling for the runners was one of relief.

“It was like we could finally breathe,” Heyd laughed in recollection.

That the Cowichan team was going after the B.C. record was no secret. They had set an Island record of 48.70 at the Island championships in Victoria last month, and their personal best of 48.57 had come at the provincial championships a year ago.

The Island championship time was also the best mark for a junior girls team anywhere in Canada so far in 2015. In setting the provincial high school record, they not only eclipsed that mark but also put up the third-best time of any team, senior or junior, in the country this year.

Heyd and Lindsay admitted they were thinking about the record as they took their marks on the track in Langley, but it wasn’t on Bains’s and Smiley’s minds.

“I was just hoping the baton would make it around,” Smiley said.

“John [May, the runners’ coach with the CVAC Jaguars] always says, do your thing and whatever happens happens,” Bains said.

Heyd, who runs the first leg, had the longest to wait once her job was done, but didn’t dare watch the baton go around the track.

“I couldn’t watch the passes,” she said. “I was just watching the clock.”

Smiley knew that her teammates had given her a big lead going into the anchor leg, but with both a gold medal and a provincial record on the line, she wasn’t about to coast down the stretch to the finish line.

“When I saw Chicago coming, I could see there was no one around her,” she said. “But you’re always scared someone could creep up on you.”

Sadly, Saturday’s final marked the last time Heyd, Lindsay, Bains and Smiley will run together. Although they will all compete for either Team BC or the CVACs at the national championships this summer, Smiley will run at the junior nationals in Edmonton,

while the other three will attend the youth championships in Quebec.

The lone Grade 12 on the team, Smiley is off to Missouri State University next year, while the rest will be back at Cowichan Secondary. Although there are younger sprinters they could team up with, right now, it is tough to imagine running the 4x100m again with someone else.

“It will be pretty hard to replace Taryn,” Heyd said.