by Brett Hedges
The Lance – Sports Editor
A group of Windsor Lancers track and field athletes had strong showings at the 2016 Canadian Eastern Espoir Championships in early August to cap off the summer season and now turn their focus to the upcoming OUA indoor season.
Four Lancers were named to Team Ontario for the event in Moncton, N.B., which is geared towards showcasing up and coming athletes under the age of 23. Lancers pole vaulter Rachael Wolfs set a new meet record when she cleared 3.90 meters and took home the gold medal.
A trio of sprinters and hurdlers also represented their province as Jasmine Hurst gave a silver medal effort in the women’s 100 meter hurdles in 15.10 seconds while placing fifth in the 400 meter hurdles in 1:09.96. Incoming sprinter Jermeka Castello placed third in the 100 meter dash in 12.39 seconds while the lone Lancers male representative Tyler Hopkins finished fourth in the 100 meter dash in 11.60 seconds.
Wolfs said the initial weather reports in New Brunswick included 40 kilometer gusts of wind but was pleased to vault well enough to win the gold medal and complete the outdoor track and field season.
“I was kinda nervous how it was going to be for pole vault,” Wolfs said. “But the weather cleared up and it was sunny with little wind, so that got me motivated. This was my first time not having my coach with me so I had to make a lot of my decisions myself. I had no idea what the record was before I just went in thinking do whatever you gotta do to get the win and once I found out at the end I got the meet record that was just like icing on the cake.”
Wolfs had set a new personal best earlier in the summer by clearing 4.01 meters at a meet in London, Ont. and said her new goal is is to surpass the school record height of 4.0 meters during the upcoming OUA indoor track and field season.
“Every meet I competed at this summer I was constantly hitting 3.90 so I was filled with so much emotion when I finally did it,” Wolfs said. “I feel a sense of relief because I put way too much pressure on myself last indoor season to try and hit it.. Now I’m excited to be going into another Lancer(s) season with that school record in reach.”
Lancers multi-events and jumps coach Kurt Downes served in the same capacity for Team Ontario at the meet and said the Espoir Championships gives athletes an opportunity be possibly be identified for future international competitions. Downes said in the past the meet has been used as a platform for various 2016 Olympians such as former Lancer Noelle Montcalm, Windsor native Brandon McBride and Canadian sprinting superstar Andre De Grasse.
“It’s a great stepping stone towards making the Canada Summer Games and it allows our athletes to compete at a very high level,” Downes said. “They may not be at an international level yet but usually in two or three years they are.”
Team Ontario won the meet with an impressive haul of 24 gold, 13 silver and 13 bronze medals while finishing with 295 total points.