The Okanagan Athletics Club’s middle-distance athletes have had a productive summer on the track, winning 11 provincial championship medals, including three gold.
Taryn O’Neill, 13, returned from the B.C .Athletics Junior Development Championships this month in Nanaimo with a bronze in the 800m (2:29.17), a silver in the 1200m (3:50.90), and a gold in the 2000m (6:36.69). O’Neill’s winning time of 6:36.69 in the 2000m smashed the Junior Development Championship meet record by almost 20 seconds.
The B.C. Athletics Championship Jubilee, held July 19 to 21 in Kamloops, marked another successful outing on the track for the OACs middle-distance group whose older athletes took home a combined total of eight medals over the course of the three-day event. Headlining the group’s showing was Sean Bergman, 15, who raced to a commanding first-place finish in the Midget Boy’s 1500m Steeplechase (4:27.31). Bergman’s winning effort in the steeplechase was followed by a clocking of 3:24.07 in the 1200m, good for third place despite losing a shoe in the early stages of the event.
In the boy’s fourteen-year-old age category, fellow OAC competitor Jacob Bourchier was one of the club’s five double medalists, taking home a gold in the 2000m and a bronze in the 1200m, with personal best clocking’s of 6:27.18 and 3:32.00. Bourchier closed off his season by also setting a personal best for a fifth place finish in the 800m (2:16.88).
In the Youth Men’s 16-17 age division, OAC’s Adam Murray exhibited the form that earned him a spot at the upcoming Legion Youth Nationals. In addition to claiming ninth place in the 2000m steeplechase (6:40.46), Murray rounded out the weekend with strong finishes in the 800m and 1500m events. Murray’s times of 2:05.89 and 4:20.27 were good for eighth and 10th place.
Also competing in the Youth Men’s competition was John Gay, whose showing at the meet was highlighted by medal performances in the 3000m and 2000m steeplechase. Gay earned silver and bronze medals with times of 9:11.41 and 6:14.21, respectively. A personal best time of 4:11.27 proved good enough for seventh in the 1500m event.
On the women’s side, Veronika Fagan, 16, battled a strong field in the Youth category en route to a double bronze performance in the 2000m Steeplechase (7:25.92) and 3000m (10:40.75) events. Fellow OAC member Cassie Laturnus also had a good showing in Kamloops, breezing through qualification rounds to post a fourth-place 61.50 in the 400m, followed by a solid 2:24.18 in the 800m, good for fifth place.
In other news, OAC’s Pam Medland has been appointed distance coach for Team B.C. in Langley, but will also keep a careful watch on the Kelowna contingent who she expects to do quite well. “Our club has never had as many outstanding young distance runners as we have this year, ” says Medland “We expect OAC will make a mark at nationals in both the power-speed and distance events, so the club is looking to end the season with a bang.”