© John DeCoste
Jayda Veinot, left, and Gillian Cumby show off the medals they won at the High School Grand Prix track and field meet May 9 in Toronto. Veinot, a Grade 9 student, earned a bronze medal after tying for third in high jump. Cumby, who is in Grade 10, joined girls from Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and New Brunswick to win silver in the cross-provincial 4x100 relay. - John DeCoste, www.kingscountynews.ca
Two Horton track and field athletes have won national medals at the High School Grand Prix.
Grade 10 student Gillian Cumby won a silver medal as part of a cross-provincial 4x100 relay team. The four-person relay teams, which included one girl from four different provinces, were chosen through a draw.
Originally, Cumby’s teammate Huroka Kashiwai was supposed to run the relay.
“She was injured, so I got to take her place,” Cumby said.
Cumby said she “got lucky that I was put on a good team,” with runners from Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and New Brunswick. They ended up finishing second with a time of 54.50 seconds.
“I hadn’t met any of the other girls before, but we hit it off right away,” she said.
Horton’s other medal came courtesy of Grade 9 student Jayda Veinot, who tied for third in high jump, with a top jump of 1.4 metres.
“I was surprised,” Veinot said. “I wasn’t expecting that.”
Like Cumby, Veinot also filled in on a 4x100 team, replacing an injured runner, but their team fell short of a medal. That race, Veinot said, was fun, pointing out, “I’m not typically a runner.”
Twelve Horton athletes and two coaches attended the High School Grand Prix in Toronto, which coach Jason Pleasant-Sampson called a “fabulous” experience.
“It was everything we ever imagined and more,” Pleasant-Sampson said. “It was first-class, professionally done and secure – like a national competition, which is what we expected it to be.”
Each of the 12 Horton female athletes – of the team selected, Emma Hergett-Rozier was unable to make the trip – was allowed to compete in up to four events. Only Courtney Garland was entered in four, with most of the Horton team competing in either two or three events.
“I figured we’d be in the mix for some medals,” Pleasant-Sampson said, but the team was one of only a few competing at the event with Grade 9 students in the mix. Most of the teams that attended were mostly made up of older students in Grade 11 and Grade 12.
“(I was) surprised at how well our younger athletes did,” he added. “In most of the events, we finished in the top third in a strong field. Gillian, Jayda and Jane (Hergett) went out and made things happen. They weren’t intimidated at all at competing against athletes 17-18 years old from all across the country.”
There might have been “less pressure,” he said, on the younger competitors than on more veteran performers like Garland and Lauren Jodrey, both of whom are in Grade 12.
“It might have been a little more stressful on the senior athletes who have more experience. The younger athletes didn’t have as much pressure,” he said. “Everyone really enjoyed the experience.”
Cumby agreed with that assessment.
“It was amazing, so well organized. They thought of everything. It was an honour to be a part of it,” she said.
Veinot said the whole experience was “really cool. Just being in the city, it was a whole different atmosphere, and it was neat meeting all kinds of new people, especially in high jump when there’s usually time in between jumps.”
She said she hasn’t had time to jump much yet so far this track and field season, especially outdoors because the weather hasn’t been great.
“To get outside and actually compete was great,” she said. “(The meet was) sort of what I thought it would be like, only a lot bigger.”
Results for Horton
In the 100 metres, Garland ended up in fourth after placing second in the preliminaries. Hergett, another Grade 9, was 11th in the preliminaries, and Kashiwai, who ended up battling shin splints, was 30th in the preliminary round.
In the 200 metres, Lauren Jodrey was sixth and Micaela Murphy 12th. In the 400 metres, Jodrey was eighth, Cumby ninth, Grade 9 Taylor Kehoe was 14th and Hergett was 18th.
In the 800 metres, Emily Merks was 13th, Carlena Eye was 23rd, Alex Hadlaw was 28th and Mackenzie Pardy was 31st.
In the 1,500 metres, Merks was 14th, Eye was 24th, Pardy was 26th and Hadlaw was 30th. In the 100 metre hurdles, Cumby was eighth and Garland 11th.
In girls’ shot put, Veinot tied for 12th and Pardy was 23rd. In long jump, Garland was eighth, Cumby 11th, Kehoe 16th and Murphy 27th.
The Horton girls now continue to practice and train for the school district track and field competition set for May 21-22 at Acadia. The top finishers there will move on to the Western Region meet, also at Acadia, on May 30-31.