A standout triathlete and a former football player are among Saanich’s best bets to challenge for a gold medal at Wednesday’s Lower Island High School Track and Field championships at UVic’s Centennial Stadium.
Colette Reimer of St. Margaret’s School, a local triathlete, won the senior girls 3,000-metre when the Grade 11 pulled away from the lead group she was in with Oak Bay’s Sarah Bryan (Grade 11) and Claremont’s Cleo Wulder (Grade 10). Wulder finished second and Bryan third.
Track is a fun way to add speed training into Reimer’s season though she had to pare off a couple of track meets this season after overdoing it last year, she said. As a junior, Reimer races sprint triathlons, which finish with a very fast five-kilometre run (she ran a 19:52 5km in a triathlon in Virginia on Sunday).
“I like the 1,500m because it’s fast and that translates to triathlon, but with the 3,000m you get the mind games and I don’t get to do that in triathlon or any other time,” Reimer said. “When you’re racing, the mind games are more important than speed. It’s fun to work on that mental aspect, everyone’s running fast so it’s just about when to pull away and having confidence.”
While Reimer came to the track with plenty of coaching and a long-term plan of attack, Joel Runkel was less so. The Grade 12 student from Pacific Christian School was a Victoria Spartans community football player until he was 15. He then transitioned into training as a short-distance runner, specializing in the 100m and 200m sprints.
“I realized in football that I was fast, and then I realized that track is more my style of sport,” Runkel said.
Last year in Grade 11 Runkel was second at the Track and Field Island Championships in the 100m and 200m, but was outside the top-five at provincials. This year he aims to change that.
Runkel twice ran an 11.56-second 100m dash this spring, ahead of second ranked Aidan Wold of Mount Douglas (11.65 seconds) and Belmont’s Eli Neims-Horton (11.71 seconds)
“Better times is all I’m after,” said Runkel, who trains with the Victoria Speed Project five to six times a week with a goal of hitting his peak at provincials.
At the Grade 10 level, Lambrick Park’s Mimosa Schulz is a step ahead when it comes to hurdling. Schulz took a full stride lead by the second fence of Wednesday’s 80m hurdles and finished metres ahead of second-place Kenzi Farish from SMUS.
From the juniors, no one is a threat to podium as often as Grade 9 St. Michaels University School student Lauren Randall-Guy. During the league meets she won the Grade 9 girls 200m, 400m and 1,500m, and is ranked second in the 100m and 800m. She’s also ranked first in javelin.
SMUS has another multi-threat, Kenzi Farish, who is ranked second in the triple jump and long jump for Grade 10. She actually owns those Lower Island records for the Grade 9 level from 2017 with a triple jump total of 10.01 metres and long jump of 4.51 metres. Farish is in tough for first place against the top-ranked Oak Bay High athlete Makayla Dickinson who set the league records for Grade 10 level in long jump (5.14m) and triple jump (11.13) this year.