Desirae Ridenour was named Outstanding Female Athlete at the Vancouver Island track and field championships at UVic last week after winning two gold medals and setting an Island record while helping Cowichan Secondary to fourth place in the senior girls standings.
Ridenour won the senior girls 1500m and 3000m events, breaking a 40-year-old Island record in the latter race, her time of nine minutes and 48.42 seconds taking more than 10 seconds off the old mark of 9:58.60.
“Both races were difficult,” Ridenour admitted. “I was surprised and pleased that I broke the 3000m record by as much as I did. I missed Debbie Scott’s 1500m record by one second.”
Also from Cowichan Secondary, Chicago Bains won a pair of gold medals at the Island meet, placing first in the senior girls 100m hurdles with a time of 14.79, 1.5 seconds ahead of second place, and anchoring the senior girls 4x100m quartet that included Casey Heyd and Emily and Nicole Lindsay.
Bains, Heyd and Nicole Lindsay were on the 4x100m team, rounded out by now-graduated Taryn Smiley, that set the Island record of 48.70 seconds a year ago. That foursome went on to set a new provincial mark, and this year’s team is aiming to break that record.
All of the relay team members qualified in other events as well. Nicole Lindsay won a pair of bronze medals, in the senior girls 200m and 400m, and Bains additionally qualified for provincials in the senior girls 200m, where she placed fourth. Heyd placed fifth in the senior girls 100m, and Emily Lindsay was fifth in the senior girls long jump.
The top five athletes in each event qualify for provincials, and Cowichan had a total of 14 provincial qualifiers out of the Island meet. Other medal winners from the school included Emma Dewit, who claimed silver in the junior girls 100m, 200m and long jump, and Noah Charles, who took bronze in the senior boys shot put and placed fourth in discus. Riley Hogg qualified for provincials by placing fifth on the Island in senior girls javelin.
Brentwood College School and Chemainus Secondary each had six qualifiers.
Siôn Griffiths led the way for Brentwood, winning two gold medals, in the junior boys hammer throw, where his throw of 47.82m obliterated his own Island record of 42.92 from last year, and the junior boys javelin, where his mark of 50.51m was nearly five metres farther than the second-place toss.
Griffiths also helped the junior boys 4x400m team — which included Casper Poelen, Mason Shadlock and Luke Handel — to bronze. He also had a pair of fifth-place qualifiers, solo in the 200m and as part of the 4x100m team. Campbell Woike also qualified solo in the junior boys 100m hurdles. As a team, Brentwood finished fifth in the junior boys overall standings.
From Chemainus, Nathaniel White, Emily Guest and Hannah Tuplin each qualified for provincials in two events. White leapt to a silver medal in the senior boys high jump and placed fifth in the triple jump; Guest took bronze in the senior girls triple jump and was fifth in the high jump; and Tuplin placed fourth in the junior girls shot put and fifth in javelin.
Mackenzie Johnston won gold in the junior girls high jump and was one of four athletes from Frances Kelsey to qualify for provincials. Mackenna Posey took silver in the junior girls shot put and Jace Hilton claimed silver in the junior boys shot put, and Katie Farley finished fourth in the junior girls 3000m.
Rachel Jerome of Ladysmith Secondary qualified for provincials in two events, winning gold in the senior girls long jump and bronze in the 100m.
Danielle Groenendijk became the first athlete from Duncan Christian School to qualify for provincials in the senior girls shot put, where she placed fifth. Groenendijk also reached the Island final in the 100m.
Liam Stephenson of Dwight School Canada placed fifth in the junior boys discus to become the only qualifier from his school. He just missed a second qualifying mark, placing sixth in the shot put.
The provincial track and field championships will take place in Nanaimo on June 2-4.