NEAT athletes put themselves to test this summer
Westerns, nationals and Alberta Summer Games among competitions
It might be summer, but North East Alberta Track Club (NEAT) athletes are still hard at work training for upcoming competitions, with two of its members heading to westerns and nationals as part of Team Alberta. Several club members were out last Thursday evening, practicing for upcoming meets.
Cold Lake’s Hayley Lucas and St. Paul’s Jocelyn Laramee were among the club members who attended a qualifying meet in St. Albert in June, with Laramee qualifying for shot put, discus and javelin, and Lucas qualifying for 100 metre hurdles, long jump, javelin, shot put and discus. The Western Canadian Midget & Youth track and field competition takes place on July 14 and 15 in Medicine Hat, and the girls then travel to Canadian Youth Championships from August 17 to 19 in Charlottetown, P.E.I. Both agree the competitions are “a big thing.”
And while they say they’re hoping to record personal bests at the competitions, Laramee adds with a laugh, “Winning would be nice.”
Lucas notes that it is “a competition within a competition,” since not only are they looking to do well as individuals, but that they are also looking to represent the province well and add to Alberta’s total points. Both will also likely compete in the heptathlon, which includes seven track and field combined events.
The 15-year-old Laramee will compete in the 15 and under midget category, while 17-year-old Lucas will be in the 17 and under youth category.
NEAT coach Reg Green notes the club sees fewer members coming out in the summer, but those that do are the ones that are out to compete. A few members will be taking part in the 2012 Provincial Championships for Juniors, Seniors and Masters in Sherwood Park on July 14 and 15, with St. Paul’s Eric Laramee and Lac La Biche’s Richard Schaub competing in the junior category, and St. Paul’s Henry Ferreira competing in the senior category in javelin.
Ferreira, who is home from the summer from his studies at the University of Wyoming, had a “relatively good season” with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), according to NEAT coach Dr. Albert Harmse.
“It didn’t start off too good,” said Ferreira, but he noted it got better, as he came in second overall in the conference meet and then went into the first round of nationals at 48 and came out at number 27. He took part in trials this year in Calgary to qualify for the Olympics, but said he “had a completely off day,” having had struggles with his elbow and ulna nerve this past season. His goal was simply to make the top eight, but he fell short in the attempt.
Yet he hopes to continue with his track and field training, carrying on through grad school and sticking with his current university coach. “I’d love to make the Canadian team for the next Olympics,” he said, adding he’s gained a lot of strength and fitness in the past year and has met the standard for qualifying in practices, but has just not managed to connect in meets. “I don’t think I’ve met my full potential yet.”
As for his goal of competing in the Olympics, he says, “I honestly think if you compete against great athletes, it makes you great, it pushes you to be great.”
About six NEAT athletes will also take part in the Alberta Summer Games in Lethbridge, from July 26 to 29, something Harmse says is a “big opportunity for youngsters” since it mimics the atmosphere of the Olympics and gives them a chance to meet athletes representing many different sports.
But Green is quick to note the best sport of all is track and field, joking, “There’s nothing else in life other than track and field. Everything else is just a game.”
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