Nanaimo’s biggest track and field meet ever ended the way it should, with championship celebrations.
Three local athletes won provincial titles on Saturday as the B.C. High School Track and Field Championships concluded after three busy, colourful, exciting days at Rotary Bowl stadium.
Alyssa Mousseau won the senior girls’ 800-metre final, Jason Clare won the senior boys’ pole vault and Marina Andersen won the junior girls’ race walk.
The race conditions for the 800m finals were hot and windy, not conducive to fast times.
“So I was really happy with my mental toughness in that race, seeing as it took a lot to get through. And I was really happy with how it went,” Mousseau said. “It didn’t go exactly to plan, but nothing really ever does, so you’ve got to expect to have all your plans thrown out the window when you’re running the 800 and you’ve just got to adapt to whatever happens during the race.”
Mousseau won with a time of two minutes, 13.09 seconds, five seconds faster than runner-up Madison Heisterman, who is from Nanaimo but attends Queen Margaret’s School in Duncan. Madelyn Huston of Thomas Haney was third.
With the two local athletes favoured to finish one-two in the event, there was a lot of fan interest in the stands.
“All around the track you could hear people cheering for me and Maddie and it was such a lovely thing to hear,” Mousseau said, adding that the support meant more than people might expect. “It was so nice to be able to compete at home and have our friends and family come and watch… It was really awesome to have people who don’t really get to appreciate it in person actually see it and see how it unfolds and how hard we work to do what we do.”
Saturday’s championship completed a set for Mousseau, who won the 800m twice as a junior and now twice as a senior.
“I’m so honoured to have had this opportunity to run for Wellington and run for my school as well as for [coach] Tyler Heisterman and the Nanaimo Track and Field Club,” she said. “I feel really blessed to have had that opportunity and to have grasped it and I really loved it.”
Race walker tops podium
She wasn’t the favourite to win her event, but she was the fan favourite, and now she’s a provincial champion.
Marina Andersen of Nanaimo District Secondary School won gold in the 1,500m race walk Saturday at Rotary Bowl stadium.
She was hustling around the track, but couldn’t catch the frontrunner from Killarney Secondary.
“She’s beat me a lot before and she’s been training a lot longer for this kind of event,” Andersen said. “So I was happy to just tuck in behind her and go for a PB more [and] I did get a PB.”
Then, following the race, judges conferred and disqualified the first-place finisher for improper technique. Andersen had the best view during the race, and had noticed.
“Yeah, a little bit, I could [tell]. From behind you could see that she was lifting a little bit,” Andersen said. “You have to focus on staying in your own game and keeping your technique good instead of breaking form.”
And it all worked out. Andersen said winning on home turf feels “incredibly awesome,” and enjoyed the entire experience of provincial championships in Nanaimo.
“It’s been really cool to even watch the preparation and how they’ve worked hard to set this up and put on a great event for all the athletes to compete,” she said. “It’s nice to see everyone out here doing good and getting PBs.”
Andersen’s time of 7:14.38 seconds was 40 seconds better than the runner-up, Walnut Grove’s Cassidy Cardle. Killarney’s Joanna Yu took third.
Clare experiences the air up there
Other than perhaps a drone, Jason Clare got the most altitude at provincials.
The pole vaulter from NDSS won his event easily, jumping 4.55m, and challenged, but missed, the B.C. record.
Clare sat on the sidelines and watched as rest of the field dwindled before attempting his first jump at 4.10m and making it on his first try. He also cleared 4.30 and 4.55 on his first tries before trying for 4.67m and the B.C. record.
Notably, the second-place finisher, Jasper Schiedel of Vancouver College, who was also racing in 400m hurdles Saturday, won the final of that event and upon reaching the finish line, kept on running to the pole vault pit to compete there.
Francis Abrill of Mt. Doug and Moritz Hummer of Ballenas tied for third in pole vault with 3.70m jumps.
Nanaimo athletes medal at provincials
Top-three results from the B.C. High School Track and Field Championships include:
Senior boys – Jason Clare, NDSS, first, pole vault.Senior girls – Maya Asselin-Debelic, NDSS, first, pole vault; Hassy Fashina-Bombata, Wellington, third, 100m dash, third, 200m; Alyssa Mousseau, Wellington, first, 800m; Madison Heisterman, Queen Margaret’s, second, 800m.Junior boys – Linden Kaps, Dover Bay, second, 1,500m, third, 800m.Junior girls – Jessica Katzberg, John Barsby, third, hammer throw; Marina Andersen, NDSS, first, 1,500m race walk.Grade 8 boys – Fraser Van Allen, Dover Bay, third, 800m.
For several other articles about achievements at track and field provincials, please visit www.nanaimobulletin.com/sports.