Provincials is just the first step for Notre Dame Cougars track star Brayden Posyluzny.
The 17-year-old Innisfail decathlete has his eyes set on making the national team this spring and making a run for the Pan-Am games.
On Wednesday, he was on track to do just that with a gold medal in the long jump and 100-metre hurdles and the 200 metre dash. His efforts were good enough to earn him the senior boys aggregate title with 32 points, three ahead of Bentley’s Kai Poffenroth.
“There’s a lot of things I need to work on and a lot of things that are going well,” he said. “I’m going to the combined events nationals in mid-June and I’m hoping to go there, have a good meet, make a few PB’s and make team Canada, that’s what I’m shooting for.”
He will be joined at provincials in Lethbridge on June 5 and 6 by fellow Cougar Tiana Lemon, who finished third overall in the junior girls competition, finishing with silver medals in 80 metre hurdles and long jump. She also got a bronze in the triple jump but only the top two in each event move on to provincials.
Going to provincials will also provide Posyluzny an extra opportunity to get comfortable in his surroundings after committing to the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns for next year.
“I went down there in January for a few practices and just feel in love with them, with the school and team and I like the coaches there, it’s a good atmosphere,” he said, adding he will be entering the bachelor of science program, focusing on kinesiology.
For some athletes, this will be their last shot at a provincial medal. Erika Pearson, 18, has had a big season for the Hunting Hills Lightning. She tied with teammate Drew McKinlay for the senior girls aggregate title at the area championships and on Wednesday, this time she finished tied for second with Paige Leek out of the Central Alberta Christian High School in Lacombe with 25 points, two back of McKinlay. Pearson earned gold in both the triple jump and long jump and silver in the 80 metre hurdles.
Last year she cracked the top five at provincials, finishing fourth, but is hoping to break into the top three.
“It’s more so motivating for me than pressure,” said Pearson, noting a medal may help her catch a college recruiter’s eye. “My past experiences definitely make the nerves go away and I know what to expect this year, I’m excited.”
Pearson has trained all year for this opportunity, also playing for the Lightning’s volleyball team as a left side power and is training for the Woody’s Triathlon. Her regimen works well for all sports.
“It’s definitely helping just my overall fitness for sure,” she said.
Pearson and McKinlay also teamed for silver in the 4×100 metre relay. McKinlay also added gold in the 100 and 200 metre dashes, and the 80-metre hurdles.
Carson West also had a big day for Hunting Hills, winning the Intermediate boys title with 22 points, winning gold in the 200 metre dash and silver in the 100-metre dash, qualifying for provincials in both events. He also add bronze medals in the 400-metre dash and 4×100-metre relay.
Lindsay Thurber’s Kelsey Lalor, 17, is busy establishing herself as one of Alberta’s top female athletes in the throwing disciplines. At zones on Wednesday, she finished second overall in intermediate girls with 56 points, five behind Rachel Hyink of Bentley. Last year Lalor won junior gold in javelin, a mark she is hoping to repeat, but is hoping to also add a gold in discus this year.
At the area meet, Lalor struggled in discus, failing to break 25 metres, but on Wednesday she threw a new personal best with a 29.88 metre throw. If she can go over 30 metres she will be in contention for first.
“I worked on my technique and it just felt good coming out of my spin, my timing was really good so my arm came out at the right time,” she said. “Last year in discus I finished eighth so this year I would like to sneak into that top five and get a medal.”
She does however feel a bit of pressure as the reigning gold medalist in javelin.
“I think I put most of the pressure on myself because I think it would be nice to win it back-to-back,” said Lalor. “I come out and I throw javelin four or five times a week, it’s what I like to do and I work at it a lot.”
Lalor also added a silver in the 4×400-metre relay.
The Raiders also had a big afternoon, taking the overall 4A team title with 426 points, Hunting Hills was second with 221.5 points and Notre Dame was third with 171 points. While Thurber qualified a number of athletes for provincials, in the lead group with Lalor was Ben Pasiuk who finished third overall in intermediate boys with gold in the 4x400metre relay and silver in the 200 metre dash, he also added a bronze in the 100 metre dash; and Kaylee Domoney who finished two points behind Lalor for third place in intermediate girls with silver medals in the 4×100 metre and 200 metre dash.
The smaller schools as a whole from Central Alberta performed quite well, Bentley ran away with the 1A title with 145 points, 55 points ahead of second place Provost while Caroline Community School and Eckville tied for third with 63 points. In 2A David Thompson was third with 71 points while CACHS was fourth with 66 and in 3A Lacombe was second with 266.5 points, five points behind first place Wetaskiwin Composite High School, while West Central High School out of Rocky Mountain House was third with 94 points and H.J. Cody out of Innisfail was fifth with 71.