Kelowna track and field trio Saskia Kowalli (left to right)

Vegas trip a learning experience for Kelowna track trio

Competition and camp benefits Kelowna track athletes Aaron Stroda, Keely Watts-Watling and Saskia Kowallik; Keefer Joyce competes in Oregon

A lengthy car-ride to Las Vegas proved well worth the effort for some of Kelowna’s top youth track and field athletes.

Keely Watts-Watling and Aaron Stroda, along their training partner Saskia Kowallik jumped-started their outdoor season with new personal bests and meet records at the 2012 Las Vegas Classic held at the Desert Oasis High School. The three, who also took part in an extensive training camp, are coached by Verena Stroda and represented their high schools and B.C. Athletics.

“We came to Las Vegas to conduct a training camp with two to three training sessions per day and competing at one of the largest high school meets in Nevada before traveling back home,” said coach Stroda. “The results are very promising especially since Keely and Aaron had to move up into the youth category this year with increased weights in their throwing events. Also, the U.S. weights are even higher than what our athletes use in Canada—but they did very well.”

Keely (KSS)  set a new meet record in her long jump competition and Aaron (OKM) won his discus throw competition with a new meet record.

“I was very pleased with Keely’s improved technique in high jump and long jump which we have focused on during our 12-day training camp. She also made a significant improvement in her shot put technique.”

Kowallik (OKM) competed in the 400m event where she placed second and set a new PB.

For Aaron Stroda, other highlights of the trip were taking part in the camp, and meeting and practicing with former Olympian and world record holder John Powell.

“It clicked immediately and we spent a couple of hours together talking about the technique and practicing different styles in throwing,” Stroda said of his meeting with Powell. “He surprised me and showed up at the meet and I was happy to demonstrate him a series of excellent throws. I think we have a very similar throwing style and he gave me a lot of insight that I can use moving towards the next level. I felt very special that day.”

Joyce in Oregon…

His first races of the season on the outdoor track were productive ones for sprinter Keefer Joyce.

The Kelowna teenager travelled to the University of Oregon in Eugene earlier this month for the Oregon Preview meet.

In timed finals, Joyce won his heat in the 200 metres in a time of 22.02 seconds to place second overall. Joyce placed second in his heat in the 100 metres in 10.89 seconds and finished third overall.

He was the only high school student entered in the men’s events.


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