Trail’s J. L. Crowe Track Team put up impressive results at the BC High School Sports Track and Field Championship.
Over 2,400 athletes from 330 high schools across the province participated in the event at the McLeod Athletic Field in Langley, June 9 to 11.
Six Crowe athletes competed and finished with six top-20 results, three top-10s, and a podium finish at the elite track and field meet.
Leading the way was Jaxon Kuchar who raced to a bronze medal in the 1,500-metre sprint, while just missing the podium with a fourth place result in the 3,000-m run.
Kuchar placed ninth in the 1,500-m prelims with a time of 4:10.95. So with six runners favoured, his strategy was to go out hard and fast and try to split the field, which would result in a breakaway group that would then race to the end for the medals.
“Jaxon led the race for the first 1,200 m, and made it exceptionally fast 61 (seconds) for the first 400-m, 63 for the second 400, 64 for third 400,” explained Crowe Track coach Colin Adamson. “With this, Jaxon was able to finish and hold onto a very gutsy third-place medal.”
Kuchar knocked six seconds off his heat time in the finals, sprinting to bronze in 4:04.25. Caiden Lee of Semiahmoo Secondary won gold in 3:55.20 and Michael Schriemer took home silver in the race in 3:56.08.
Kuchar is among the country’s elite runners, as Lee is the Canadian record holder for his age in the mile, and Schriemer has run a 3:52, 1,500.
“I wished I had a faster time with my race, as I always want a fast time, but Prefontaine would of been proud,” said Kuchar.
In the 3,000 m, Kuchar ran an 8:39.60, just 2.2 seconds behind bronze medalist Yemane Mulugeta of LA Matheson. It was the first competitive 3,000-m race that Kuchar has ever done and was up against a very deep field.
Lee again won gold and Tion McLeish of St. Michael’s University School captured silver.
“Jaxon ran a great time and said he has a lot of fun in the race and was very happy with his performance; he should of went when Yemane made a move and stayed closer to him to see how it would of played out – but looks forward to racing him again,” said Adamson.
In the junior women’s 3-kg hammer throw, Makenna Gallon launched the hammer 30.95-m for a personal best, outdistancing her previous PB by more than four metres.
Grade 8 athlete Lucia Gelber placed 16th in women’s high jump and 21st in the long jump, and Sadie Joyce finished 25th in long jump.
On the men’s side, Connor Nagle had a 16th place finish in the senior men’s triple jump, while Grady McAuley came 20th in the junior men’s high jump.
The BC championship was a first for junior athletes Gallon, Gelber and McAuley.
“There was always the understanding that they use it for experience and to know the competition level so that they can know what to expect for the future,” said Adamson. “Then if they want to compete at this level moving forward, they know with training and enjoyment of the sport, they can return being at a place where they will see success.”
It was also the last high school championship for Kuchar, Joyce, and Nagle who are graduating this year. Yet, after missing a couple of years due to COVID, Adamson was proud of how the trio competed against the best in the province.
“Sadie and Connor jumped well and placed very respectably overall; they know with focused training they will only improve with the talent that they have.
“Jaxon really performed well and with all the training and work that he has put in – it was fantastic for him to have a great experience, and a medal that he will always remember.”
Kuchar will compete at the 5-km road provincials on June 17 at UBC, Vancouver, and will be joined by teammates from the Trail Track and Field Club at the Kelowna meet over the July 1 long weekend, and finish up in Kamloops at the provincial meet July 8-10.