By Larry Moko
The best part of the OFSAA track and field championships for Mark Skerl wasn’t the three medals he won – two gold and a silver.
The Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School student was more pleased with the meet record he broke.
In the midget boys’ 300m hurdles final at York Lions Stadium Saturday, Skerl raced to victory in 39.79 seconds. The previous mark of 39.99 was established in 2015 by Liam Foudy who currently plays for the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights.
Skerl says it will be enjoyable to attend future Ontario high school championship meets and hear, as has been the custom, the announcer mention the record holders’ name and time.
“Before every 300m hurdles race they’ll say the OFSAA 300 record was by me,” Skerl said with pride.
In a 300m heat earlier in the day, Skerl posted the fastest time (40.65). “That was the best time I had ever run,” he said, “so I was confident going into the final.
“The guy to the right of me, Jaheim Ferguson, really pushed me at the end and that’s how I broke the record.”
Skerl captured his other gold medal Friday in the 100m sprint hurdles (13.72). And his silver medal came in the long jump (6.27 metres).
About 2,400 athletes from over 500 schools took part in the annual provincial high school showcase event.
“I ran a personal best,” Skerl said of his 100m hurdle time. “I was first in the heat to go into the final. So I was confident again for that race.”
The long jump, however, was a slight disappointment. Said Skerl: “The long jump was right after my hurdles heat. So I ran there to do it. I would have liked to win gold. If I would have done my best, it would have been gold. My best was 6.34m and the person who won was 6.31m. You can’t jump your best every time.”
Tom Bereza, who coaches Skerl at the Monte Cristo Track Club, said his young star faulted in five of his six long jump attempts but it was still good enough for second place.
“Mark has had a phenomenal season and he topped it off with three medals,” Bereza said.
Skerl, who recently helped the Cardinal Newman Cardinals win a junior boys’ soccer championship, hopes to land a spot on Team Ontario and go to nationals in Brandon, Man.
In other OFSAA action involving Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association athletes, Nifaiya Robinson of the Cathedral Gaels earned a silver medal in the junior boys’ 200m. His time Saturday was 22.30. The previous day, Robinson also won silver in the 400m (49.21).
Tiago Brum of the Bishop Tonnos Titans sped to gold in the boys’ visually impaired 800m (2:27.65). That added to his second-place showing from the day before in the 100m (13.96).
A day after helping the St. Mary Crusaders to a bronze medal in the junior girls’ 4x100m relay, Rachel Watson placed fourth in the 300m hurdles (44.84). It wasn’t a medal, but it was still a PB and a St. Mary school record for Watson.
Watson’s teammate Isabella Bauman – also part of the bronze-medal foursome – placed eighth in the 300m hurdles (48.87).
Another Crusader, Lachlan Perigord, came 13th in preliminaries for the midget boys’ 800m. His time was 2:02.90.
Logan Garvey of the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves had a best throw of 28.30m to place 17th in the junior girls’ javelin.
Source: Marnie Jadon