Track athletes win races, awards

This past spring and summer marked another extremely successful season for members of the Nanaimo Track and Field Club.

It is hardly a surprise, but this past spring and summer marked another extremely successful season for members of the Nanaimo Track and Field Club.

For starters, the club hosted several major events this year, including the B.C. Championships Jamboree and the B.C. Cross-Country Championships. Thanks to strong community support, significant improvements were made to club facilities at the Rotary Bowl track. A pair of Nanaimo athletes, Jason Clare and Alyssa Mousseau, competed for Canada at the World Youth Championships in Columbia. A total of nine club athletes qualified as Team B.C. members at various age levels. Those involved were Joel De Schiffart, Sean Miller, Jenaya Pynn, Clare, Mousseau, Rachel Jerome, Marina Andersen, Madison Heisterman and Jessica Katzberg. In addition, three of the club’s coaches – Bernie Katzberg, Paul Little and Allen Johnston – were named to national or provincial teams.

Many of the individuals who contributed to last season’s success were honoured at the track club’s annual awards banquet, held this past Saturday.

Recognized as outstanding tykes on the season were Katelyn Putz and Krescyn Moonsamy. Olivia Lundman and Nate Paris were the club’s outstanding peewees. Outstanding bantams were Karly Dickenson and Ethan Katzberg. Chosen as outstanding midget girl was Heisterman, with Ben Toth the outstanding midget boy.

Mousseau and Hassy Fashina Bombata shared the award for outstanding youth girl, with Mousseau also named as female track athlete of the year. Similarly, the outstanding youth boy award was shared by Isaac Sandri and Clare, with Clare also chosen as male field athlete of the year.

The award for outstanding junior girl went to Pynn. Outstanding junior boy was Miller, who was also tabbed as male track athlete of the year. In the masters’ category, Sandie Bissessur and Joe Giegerich were named as outstanding female and male winners.

In other club awards, female field athlete of the year went to Jessica Katzberg. Andersen was chosen as outstanding female off-track athlete and Jayden Watson as outstanding male off-track athlete. Makala Mitchell was recognized as having been the outstanding athlete at the 2015 Nanaimo Track and Field Club Meet.

Hope Stewart was named as most improved female athlete on the year, while Cameron Martiniuk was named as most improved male athlete. The female sportsmanship award was presented to Amy Morris and the male sportsmanship award went to Carter Higgins.

Also honoured at the awards banquet was long-time publicity director Terri Doughty. She was presented with the 2015 President’s Trophy for her service and dedication to the club. I would like to add my personal thanks to Doughty, who has decided to step down from her role. For the past several years she has done an exceptional job of keeping local media types fully informed of track club activities.

We may be in the off-season now, but volunteers and athletes are already looking forward to another exciting track and field season.

Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.