By Larry Moko
The opening meet of the 2017 outdoor high school track and field season provided some encouraging results for runners from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School.
Nia Ebos and Abbey Maillet of the Crusaders each won their events at McMaster University’s Ray Lewis Relays Thursday. Ebos raced to victory in the junior girls’ 100 metres (13.02 seconds), while Maillet led the pack from start to finish to easily capture top honours in the junior girls’ 1700m (5:39:80).
And although St. Mary’s Liam Donnelly was edged out at the finish line by rival David Poloni of Burlington’s Hayden Huskies in the senior boys’ 1700m, both runners eclipsed the meet record time. Donnelly was clocked in 4:27.12.
“It’s a personal best time for me,” Ebos said of her performance in the sprint. “Last year, my PB was 13.03, but that was with a strong wind pushing me. I guess this was nice time to start off.”
Perhaps her best event, however, is going to be the long jump. Ebos came fourth in long jump at the Canadian Legion Youth Nationals last summer in Quebec with a leap of 5.07m.
“I excel the most at long jump,” said Ebos who, as a midget long jumper last year, came ninth at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations meet (4.77m).
In addition, the former gymnast advanced all the way to South Regionals in the 80m hurdles. When asked about her goals for this season, Ebos said: “I just want to keep jumping 5 metres and break 13 seconds for the 100m. And I hope to make OFSAA again.”
St. Mary coach Brian Grolla expects big things from Ebos and her Crusader teammates.
“Nia has lifted weights a lot this winter,” Grolla said. “You can noticeably see a change in her strength.”
Maillet and Donnelly also impress Grolla with their athleticism.
“Abbey is an amazing rower (a national indoor gold-medal winner) and all-around athlete,” the Crusaders coach said. “I taught her how to throw a shot put last year and she broke the school record in the shot put because of her rowing strength. She’s been training hard this year and I think she’ll be a force on the track.
“Liam had a good indoor season. He’s powerful (an accomplished triathlete) and is an amazing student. He shows excellent sportsmanship and is a pleasure to have on the team.”
Molly Giannone, who also competed at OFSAA 2016 in the senior girls’100m hurdles (ninth) and open girls’ 4x400m relay (seventh) has returned and is being counted on for continued success.
Two other Crusaders placed second at the Mac-hosted competition — Connor Vandergeer in the senior boys’ 100m final (11.56) and Grade 9 student Marcus Rilling in the boys’ 1700m (5:25.34).
Ray Lewis attended Hamilton’s Central Collegiate and, at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, was part of Canada’s bronze-medal winning 4x400m relay team. “Rapid” Ray was the first Canadian-born black Olympic medalist.
Source: Marnie Jadon