A group of Valley Royal athletes got the 2013 outdoor track and field season off to a start last Saturday by traveling to Yakima, Washington to take part in that city’s Holder Relays.
Club performances were led by a couple of medal performances as Hailey Gibson placed third in the women’s 100 meters and Alex Siemens’ captured the same position in women’s 1600 meters.
Other notable performances by Royal athletes included Aidan Bingert who took part in the Sophomore 800 meters whose finishing spurt propelled him to fourth place. Erika Johnson put on a determined effort to win her section of the freshman girls’ 800 meters.
Ashley Heisler showed nice improvement by running her 400-meter leg of the distance medley relay in the low 62-second range. Ashley, who will be attending university in New York next year on a lacrosse scholarship, is deciding whether to concentrate on the 400-meter hurdles or the 800-meter event during this track and field season.
Meanwhile at the UBC Invitational Mike Mason of the Royals got his season off to a good start by winning the men’s high jump with a leap of 2.25 meters. In two week’s time Mason will travel to Los Angeles where he will compete in the Mt. Sac Relays.
This coming Saturday Hailey Gibson, Alex Siemens and Callum Pilgrim will be part of the Mouat team that will compete in the Gran Forza team pentathlon that will take place at the Richmond Indoor Oval.
Birmingham, Alabama—March 7-9—Valley Royal athletes Helen Crofts and Chantel Desch were instrumental in guiding the Simon Fraser University Clan to a 12 th place finish in that school’s first appearance at the Division 2 NCAA Championships.
Crofts was the big point scorer for the Clan as the fifth year student won the 800 meters and teamed up with Desch, Sarah Sawatzky and Michaela Kane to place third in the distance medley relay. The two Valley Royal athletes were also members of the Clan team that placed eighth in the 4x400m relay.
Crofts won the 800-meters in the excellent time of 2:05.96 just missing the meet record of 2:05.75 but her time did break the facility record of 2:06.41. Desch recorded a personal best 55.48 for her 400-meter leg of the distance medley relay while Crofts ran the 1600-meter anchor leg of that event in 4:47.53.
Crofts made the following comments concerning her 800-meter victory, “I had an inside lane placement and didn’t want to get boxed in. I was a bit concerned because I was a little sore from the previous night’s relay but once we got going I felt great.”
The clan scored 22 pts in the competition to place 12th in the field of 50 schools that scored that took part in the championship. The placing meant that only one other school in their conference outscored SFU with Alaska Anchorage garnering 23 points.
Mouat SS and Dover Park SS ups the total to 26 teams that will compete in the Richmond Olympic Oval’s 200m indoor track.
Alexandra Siemens of Mouat SS
Cameron Smith’s team will be lead by Alexandra Siemens in the 800m and Hailey Gibson in the 50m. They will be joined by Callum Pilgrim in the shot put and Jory Smallenberg in the standing long jump. Alicia Unruh may join them in the 4x200m relay.
NAMPA, IDAHO—Sat., February 9
Valley Royal members Helen Crofts and Chantel Desch were leaders for the Simon Fraser Women’s team that placed fifth out of nine teams at the Great Northwest Conference Championships.
Crofts, the Canadian international, won the women’s 800 meters in a time of 2:12.29 and Desch ran a personal best 57.23 seconds to place second in the 400 meters. Later in the meet Crofts and Desch teamed up with Sarah Sawatzky and Michaela Kane to win the 4×400 meter relay in a conference record clocking of 3:48.36.
Other Valley Royals that took part in the meet included Kayla Lennea with 12th in the 800 meters and Travis Vugteveen who ran the men’s 800 meters.
Both Crofts and Desch will now represent SFU at the Division 2 NCAA Championships that take place in two week’s time in Birmingham, Alabama. This will mark the first appearance for SFU at the Division 2 NCAA Indoor National Championships.
Over 165 athletes, parents and guests were in attendance Wednesday
evening at the Valley Royals Awards’ Banquet held at Abbotsford’s Legacy Centre
Olympians’ Jessica Smith and Mike Mason were chosen as the club’s
Outstanding Senior athletes for 2012. Smith was an 800-meter semi finalist in
London while Mason placed eighth in the final of the men’s high jump.
Manpreet Grewal, the hammer throw silver medalist at the Canadian Midget
Championships, was named the Youth Division Athlete of the year, all round athlete
Hannah Konrad won those honors in the midget category and Vikramjit Gondara, a
triple medal winner in the throws at the BC Championship, was selected as the
winner in the junior development division.
Trevor Wight, the track coach at Yale Secondary School, won the Jane Swan
award for service to the community and Doug Heldman, the hard working vice
president of the club, received the Valley Royals service award.
Jessica Smith delivered the keynote address. In an inspirational talk, Smith
outlined her athletic progress from the time she was a young athlete in North
Vancouver through her illustrious career at Simon Fraser University to last year
when she realized her dream of becoming an Olympian. Smith emphasized to the
young athletes that progress is not always smooth or in a straight line and
that athletic success is dependent upon a strong support group plus a strong self
image and a firm belief in what is possible.
Smith paid special tribute to the late Frank Reynolds who guided her through
her years as a young athlete and SFU coach and former Olympian Brit Townsend,
who guided her to international stature.
All Around Athlete – Toni Goode Award
Maguire Wakelyn – JD
Rookie of the Year – Colleen Gibson Award
Mackenzie Roy – JD
Callum Pilgrim – Midget
Connor Harrison – Youth
Most Improved – Greg Duhaime Award
Parker Janzen – JD
Spencer Spenst – Midget
Oliver Jorgensen – Youth
Aisha Klippenstein – Jr
Travis Vugteveen – Sr
Inspirational Athlete – Matt Peters Award
Mehroop Takhar – JD
Hailey Gibson – Youth
Chantel Desch – Jr
Outstanding Athlete – Brit Townsend Award
Vikramjit Gondara – JD
Hannah Konrad – Midget
Manpreet Grewal – Youth
Mike Mason – Sr
Jessica Smith – Sr
Jessica Smith, a semi finalist at last summer’s London Olympic Games, has accepted an invitation to act as guest speaker at this year’s Valley Royals Awards banquet . 2012 was a break though year for Smith and one that saw her create a personal best for 800-meters and qualify for Canada’s Olympic Games team. Jessica’s personal best came at last year’s Harry Jerome meet where she fought and won the 800-meter event in 1:59.86 in an exciting drive to the tape. During her university running career at Simon Fraser University, Smith won national titles in both track and cross country. At the Olympic Games Jessica was a semi finalist in the 800-meters. In her talk Smith will highlight the ups and downs that an athlete will encounter in the path to athletic success.
This year’s Valley Royals banquet is scheduled for the Legacy Centre on Wednesday, February 13. Let your coach know that you will be in attendance to enjoy an a great dinner and awards presentation that will see every athlete in attendance recognized.
Valley Royal middle distance runner Alexandra Siemens was named as one of three recipients of the Frank Reynolds Bursary. The other two finalists were North Vancouver’s Jess Hooton and Kala Stone of Kamloops. Following are the citations for each of the three winners. Frank Reynolds in his youth was an outstanding middle distance runner and as an adult he coached and produced a series of outstanding runners for the NorWesters Club.
Jesse Hooton – only began running just over a year ago and this past fall won the 2012 BC Junior Club Championships as well as placing 4th at the 2012 BC High School Cross Country Championships. He is now training seriously with Hershey Harriers Athletics Club under the tutelage of Cindy O’Krane and Darcie Montgomery showing immense dedication, leadership and talent. Jesse attends Handsworth Secondary School, with plans to attend either the University of Victoria or UBC to study Political Science or Business.
Alexandra Siemens – has been running virtually all her life and is an Honours student at WJ Mouat in Abbotsford. Alex won the BC High School Cross Country Championships while only in Grade 9 and has represented BC Athletics on both Track and Cross country teams over the past 3 years. Alex is a keen coach of younger athletes and hopes to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a PE teacher. Coached by Sue Northey of the Valley Royals Track and Field Club, Alex plans to attend SFU or head south to the USA on scholarship to continue to improve her times and run XC for her school.
Kala Stone – a South Kamloops Secondary School Honours student is a dedicated athlete, volunteer Track Rascals coach, and meet official with the Kamloops Track and Field Club. After winning the BC High School Championships 1500m in Grade 11, this fall Kala won the BC Junior Club Cross Country Championships and the following week placed 7th at the BC High Schools, and represented BC Athletics at the National XC Championships. Kala hopes to attend an NCAA Division 1 school to compete and study Biology towards a future career in Physiotherapy.
The Whistler Spirit Run is the realization of the late coach Frank Reynolds’ vision to have a mass participation cross country event while encouraging and supporting British Columbia High School and University athletes through charitable donations and scholarship programs.
“I believe that sport teaches you what is really worthwhile in life and how much you can get out of hard work, sacrifice, and commitment”. – Frank Reynolds
On Wednesday evening, February 13 the gala Valley Royals Awards Banquet will be held at the Legacy Centre (adjacent the track at Rotary Stadium). Always an evening to be remembered, it begins with a scrumptious dinner and is followed by the ceremonies.
Every athlete that is a member of the Royals and attends the banquet will be honored and presented with an award for his/her accomplishments during 2012. All members of the Royals, their parents, brothers, sisters and friends are encouraged to mark February 13 on the calendar as a date set aside for this occasion.
Coaches will be taking the names of athletes and family members in their group that will be attending the banquet. More details will be forthcoming within the next two weeks.
Christmas and the New Year celebration for the year 2012 are now both part of history
but we trust that all Valley Royal members had a great holiday season. It’s now time to get back to basics and that includes gearing up for the coming track and field season. Individual coaches have been in contact with present members of the club and you are undoubtedly aware of the time and place for winter practices.
We can report that Ziggy’s speed/power group is holding practices from Monday to Thursday at ARC and on Saturday’s at Rotary. Sue Northey’s middle distance group will meet @ ARC on Tuesday (Tuesday, January 8 will be the first practice) and Thursday’s (3:45 p.m.) and Saturday (10:a.m.) at Rotary Stadium. The mid week practices will consist of running outdoors for the first hour and conclude with weight training indoors. Members of Sue’s group are asked to bring a change of shoes for the weight lifting part of the workout.
James Meehan will hold workouts for JD athletes 12 years to 14 years of age at ARC. James has sent out notices to athletes in this age division but if in doubt, give him a phone call or email.
If there are newcomers interested in being a member of one of the above groups, please email head coach Gerry Swan ([email protected]) or contact the individual coaches—all email addresses can be found on the web page.
Heptathlon athlete, long jumper, sprinter, and wife will soon be able to add the title of mother to her many accomplishments. This coming spring Ruky will give birth to her first child and both mother and father are very excited about the prospect. Congratulations to the happy couple.