Siemens & Pilgrim Win Aggregate at Upper Fraser Valley Meet

Alexandria Siemens and Callum Pilgrim each placed first in three events to win aggregate awards at the Upper Fraser Valley Championships held at the Swan Track on Wednesday and Thursday of last week.

Siemens had little trouble winning the senior girls division 800m (2:21), 1500m (4:55) and 3,000m (10:23). For the most part the Mouat Secondary School senior ran conservative races but won by wide margins ranging up to 150m. For good measure, Siemens ran a leg of the Mouat 4x400m relay that placed second.

Meanwhile, Pilgrim performed the same feat in the junior girls division but she had to display a good fighting spirit to secure the victories. Pilgrim fought hard to win the 1500m (4:56.9) and staved off a challenge by Walnut Grove’s Isabella Bercia who placed second (4:57.5). The other two victories by Pilgrim came in the 800m (2:23) and the 3,000m (10:39).

Oliver Jorgensen (Bateman) ran a personal best 9:05 to win the senior boy’s 3,000m and came back on Thursday to place second in the 1500m (4:11) and 2-k steeplechase.

Other multiple medalists included Sarya Ross (Mouat), second in both the senior girls 1500 and 3,000m events, Hannah Konrad (Yale) with a first in the junior girl’s 400m (61.10) and second places in both the 800m (2:23.7) and triple jump (9.96m). Spencer Spenst (Abbotsford) won the senior boy’s pole vault (3.10m) and Catherine Tackema was first in the senior girls vault (2.48m). Aiden Bingert (Mouat) had a second place finish in the junior boys 1500m (4:32) while Ashley Heisler (Chilliwack) came second in the senior girls 800m and third in the 400m.

In two week’s time the Fraser Valley Championships take place in Abbotsford. Athletes in that meet will be fighting to gain entry marks for the BC Secondary School Championships scheduled for Langley on May 31 and June 1.

Siemens, Pilgrim & Gibson Propel Mouat to 3rd

Three Valley Royal athletes led W.J. Mouat Secondary School to a third place finish in the senior girls’ division of the Gran Forza Relay held last Saturday at the Richmond Olympic Indoor Facility. The third place finish earned Mouat a prize of $500 that can be used for the track and field program at that school.

Sixteen teams took part in the senior girls division that was won by Pitt Meadows (3,757 pts.) with Oak Bay second (3753 pts) and Mouat third (3729 pts.). The scores were calculated by utilizing international scoring tables.

Mouat’s points came from Hailey Gibson with a third in the 60 meters (7.00), Jory Smallenburg with fifth in the standing long jump (2.15m) Alex Siemens who was second in the 800-meters (2:22.43) and middle distance runner Callum Pilgrim who placed 14th in shot put (6.07 meters). The above four girls combined to place fifth in the 4×200 meter relay (1:56.57).

Katie Crivello and Hannah Konrad were members of the Yale Secondary team that also took part in the senior girls’ competition. Crivello recorded a very respectable time of 7.10 in the 60 meters and grade 9 runner Konrad ran 2:27.97 in the 800 meters.

Peter Mitchell ran the 800-meter leg (2:10.55) for the Mouat Senior Boys’ team.

This coming Saturday a number of Valley Royal athletes will take part in the Emilie Mondor meet hosted by Simon Fraser University.

Sunny in Yakima, Mason at UBC…

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.

Royals Athletes Lead SFU to 12th at NCAA DII Championships

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, Led by Alex Siemens, To Participate in Gran Forza

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.

Crofts & Desch Lift SFU to 5th Place

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.

Olympians Jessica Smith & Mike Mason Named Outstanding Senior Athletes at Annual Awards Banquet

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.

Other Winners:

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

Mike Mason @ Harry Jerome Classic – profiled in Vancouver Sun

Harry Jerome Classic to showcase youngsters

Harry Jerome Classic to showcase youngsters

Michael Mason, Athletics, Team Canada Olympic athlete.

Photograph by: Courtesy Team Canada , PNG files

VANCOUVER – The last time Mike Mason was inside the Richmond Olympic Oval, it was still configured for long track speed skating.

That was before the 2010 Winter Games and before it was converted to a busy multi-use facility that now features a couple of hockey rinks, basketball and volleyball courts, badminton areas and a running track and field event area.

On Saturday, Mason, a two-time Olympian who just missed a high jump bronze medal in London last summer, will be trying to soar not score and attack the bar not the rim.

Mason, 26, will be one of a handful of featured senior athletes at the Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Indoor Track Classic, a third-year event established primarily for age-group athletes 12-and-up and as a showcase for some of the province’s top junior performers.

“I think it will just be so much fun,” says Mason, who grew up in Nanoose Bay and who now lives in Abbotsford. “There’ll be a lot of kids out there, a lot of people there.

“It’ll probably be a bit chaotic, but that’s how indoors is. That’s what I love about indoors. It’s so condensed. It’ll be interesting to see.”

The meet has almost tripled in size from last year, with more than 320 athletes registered for 60-plus events, most of them on the facility’s 200-metre, five-lane plastic/rubber track and an adjacent five-lane sprint straightaway. In addition to high schoolers, UBC, SFU and Trinity Western have entered several athletes in open events.

“I like to call it the Road to Rio, where we’re going to see kids who are hopefully going to be on the Olympic team in the next three to four years,” said Clement.

Unlike the annual and well-established Harry Jerome outdoor meet at Swangard Stadium, which Clement said appeals more to “a general sporting audience,” the indoor is more about families. There is seating for about 1,000 and he expects plenty of parents and grandparents to be in attendance.

“It’s a great atmosphere inside the oval and this year it could be a zoo, people all over the place.”

Mason tied for the 12th best jump in the world last season at 2.31 metres. He cleared 2.29 at London, the same height as Canadian bronze medalist Derek Drouin of Corunna, Ont., but had to settle for an eighth-place finish.

Ivan Ukhtov of Russian won gold with a jump of 2.38, with Erik Kynard of the U.S. taking silver at 2.33. Six other jumpers cleared 2.29 and missed at 2.33, with Drouin and two others earning bronze medals for clearing 2.29 on their first attempt. It took Mason three tries to make that height.

Mason jumped in four European meets right after the Olympics, then took two well-deserved months off.

“I definitely needed it, I think mentally more than physically, although physically I needed it too. I competed four times at some pretty high profile meets and was getting pretty burned out by the last one. So it was definitely time to get some rest.”

Right now, he’s in the middle of some heavy training ahead of his outdoor season and the IAAF world championships in Moscow in August, so he’s not sure what to expect on Saturday. The training has mostly been gym work, focusing on getting stronger, and he’s done little in the way of actual jumping or technical work.

“It’s always hard to say that first meet. I am feeling good, but I really haven’t done too much jumping, so what does that mean? But I know I’m healthy and I’m stronger than I was at this point last year.”

There are nine other men entered in the open high jump, mostly local university students, but none have cleared better than 1.95 in their careers.

Mason’s career indoor best is 2.30 set five years ago in Seattle, but he rarely competes indoors, in part because the season is so short and because there are just so few opportunities. Athletics Canada does not even hold a national championship indoor meet anymore.

Mason, who needed to overcome a serious ankle injury to compete in London, one that cost him much of 2011, says he’s committed to making another push for an Olympic medal at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

“I’m only 26 now. In terms of peak years of high jumpers, I think the next few years will definitely be good years if I’m healthy and keep training well.

“It’s always tough to finish a four-year Olympic cycle and automatically be thinking about the next one. But it’s definitely a long-term goal.”

FINISH LINE: The Jerome meet starts at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday . . . The men’s high jump is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. . . . for more info, go to

[email protected]

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun


Olympian Jessica Smith to be Guest Speaker for Banquet

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.   

Alex Siemens Recipient of Frank Reynolds Bursary

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