It was no surprise to see Derrick Evans dominate the distance events in the senior boys’ division at the Central Alberta high school zone track and field championships at Lindsay Thurber Wednesday.
The 17-year-old Hunting Hills star is one of the top distance runners in the province, having competed provincially, nationally and internationally at the club level.
Evans, who moved to Red Deer in Grade 2, started running in Grade 6 and took distance running — the 1,500 and 3,000-metres — seriously in Grade 9.
“I won the (Legion) nationals in Grade 9, that’s when I really got into it. I started looking up training techniques, all aspects of it. I loved the hard working aspect of it.”
He won the 1,500m and steeplechase at the nationals and on Wednesday he won the 1,500 and 3,000, beating Mitch Dore of Notre Dame in both.
Evans won the 1,500m in four minutes 22.48 seconds and the 3,000 at 9:09.30 with Dore at 4:49.82 and 10:00.43 respectively.
Although he wasn’t pushed at all, he didn’t mind.
“I treat it like training on my own and just work hard at it,” he said.
He expects to get tougher competition at the provincials, which are set for June 6-7 in Calgary.
“I know most of the guys I’ll be up against and they’re good guys,” he said. “I won the 1,500 in Grade 10 and last year I was third with about 100m remaining when someone stepped on me from behind and I almost finished last. Hopefully this year I get a chance to win gold or silver. It would be a nice finish to my high school career.”
Evans trained with the Red Deer Titans Track Club when he was younger, then switched to a Calgary Club.
“Our coach (in Calgary) left and I went to Edmonton,” he explained. “The Calgary and Edmonton Clubs gave me a chance to train with guys who run like I do. The training is competitive.”
Evans did run cross-country, once, but likes the track.
“I also ran the 5,000m a few times, but it’s a bit to long for me and cross-country is also longer.”
Evans will attend the University of Victoria on a track scholarship next year and take geophysics.
“I chose Victoria as I don’t like the snow and they have a good running community and school,” he said.
As well Evans is looking to get below four minutes in the 1,500m and 8:50 in the 3,000m.
He would also like to make the junior national team.
“Last year I tried to make the World Youth team, but it never worked out,” he said.
Jonathon Allen of Eckville won the senior boys’ aggregate title with 34 points while Kolton Hueppelsheuser of Bentley and Dore had 23 points each.
Natasha Smallwood of Wetaskiwin edged her teammate Mary Krause 30-28 to win the senior girls’ title. Cassandra Vleeming of Lindsay Thurber (LTCHS) was third with 20 points.
The junior girls’ title went to Nicole Torpe of Provost with 34 points, three ahead of Rachel Hyink of Bentley and 10 ahead of Kelsey Lalor of LTCHS.
Jaedon Norton of Wetaskiwin won the junior boys’ crown with 25 points while Ben Holmes of LTCHS had 22 and Jeandre Visser and Sebastian Dupuis of Wainwright had 18 each.
Dacia Gramlick William E. Hay of Stettler finished with 34 points to take top spot in the intermediate girls’ division with Chantel Park of Lacombe second with 28 points and Madison Oxton of Wetaskiwin third with 25.
The intermediate boys’ division was won by Brayden Posyluzny of Notre Dame with 28 points, two ahead of David Erasmus of St. Thomas Aquinas of Provost and six ahead of Noah Mulzet of LTCHS.
Bentley captured the team title in the 1A division with 166 points with Eckville accumulating 106 and Spruce View 68.
Wainwright won the 2A title with 154.5 points with Central Alberta Christian High School of Lacombe at 49 and Delburne 47.
Wetaskiwin had 379 points, Lacombe 285 and Camrose 223 in the 3A division while in 4A LTCHS finished with 460 points, Notre Dame with 127.5 and Hunting Hills 122.