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