It’s been a few years in the making, but Caleb Heinrichs thinks he’s finally found his stride.
The Lindsay Thurber grade 12 student has been competing in track and field since grade 7, but decided in the last few years to take it more seriously and it showed at the High School Central Zone area 1 meet on Wednesday.
Heinrichs took first place in all five events he raced in on the track, and finished second in the shot put.
“Pretty good. My times weren’t all what I was hoping for but, overall it was pretty good I think,” he said.
He won the 400 metre (55.18 seconds), 200m (23.02), 100m (11.27) and his team finished first in both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. He was also the aggregate individual winner for senior boys.
“Last year I improved quite a bit from grade 10. I was expecting to do a lot better in grade 1o, I was a little pissed off about that. So I went pretty hard in grade 11 and now I keep training,” said Heinrichs, while adding he spends five days a week on the track with his team, plus some additional training on his own, “it’s paid off so far.”
Colin Wilkinson of Lindsay Thurber was second in senior boys aggregate and Jacob Stauffer from Innisfail was third.
Heinrichs finished fourth in the 400m last year at provincials and hopes on top of another sweep of his events at zones next week in Stettler, he can add a medal this time against the best in Alberta.
“Improving my times for zones for sure and hopefully getting first in all those events again,” he said of his goal for next week.
Keanna Richards, a grade 10 student from Hunting Hills was another standout performer on the afternoon, winning long jump, 80m hurdles (13.30) and the 800m (2:43.37). She was fourth in the 100m (13.86), and her team finished second in by the 4x100m and 4x400m races.
Her time in the hurdles (13.30) was a full second faster than the nearest competitor and in the 800m, she beat the field by a full 13 seconds. She jumped 4.51m to win the long jump. She said overall, hurdles is her favourite event.
“You have to get over something, it’s not just running, there’s something a little but different about it,” she added.
Richards said although her parents were strong athletes, they didn’t really pass on too many track tips, and she’s really only been competing for the last year.
“Just wanted to come and do it,” she said about her expectations coming into the meet.
As for looking into the future, she noted with a good performance at zones she hopes she can compete at provincials.
She ended up finishing second in the junior girls aggregate behind Jamie Lalor of Lindsay Thurber. Lalor won the 300m hurdles (54.52), 200m (27.84), 400m (1:06.71) and Javelin (24.80m) along with first in the 4x100m relay. Sydney Larsen of Hunting Hills was third in aggregate.
Hayley Lalor of Lindsay Thurber was the aggregate winner in the intermediate girls category with teammates Lauren Pasiuk and Journey Flewell coming second and third respectively.
Jeremiah Lauzon was the top athlete on aggregate in the intermediate boys age group, beating out Ethan McDonald of Hunting Hills and Adam Melnyk of Notre Dame. Lauzon won the 100m (11.46) and 200m (23.11).
Hunting Hills senior girls athlete Jessie Handley was the top senior girl in the aggregate, with Leah Brunner of Notre Dame second and Jade Weber of Lindsay Thurber finishing third. Handley was first in the 100m, 200m, 80m hurdles and long jump.
Tyler Herzberg was first in the junior boys aggregate, edging out Notre Dame athletes Zachary Bettesworth and Zachary Jansen. Herzberg was the top runner in the 400m (56.84) and 800m (2:12.74).
Lindsay Thurber finished the meet winning five of the six individual aggregate titles.
The Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association zone championships are next Wednesday in Stettler, followed by provincials on June 2 and 3.