Jared Howse crossed the finish line Friday with a smile a mile wide.
Early on the first day of the Alberta Schools Athletic Association Track and Field Championships at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School, Howse did his hometown proud.
The St. Joseph High School student, in his first trip to provincials, won gold in the junior 3000-metre race with a personal best time of nine minutes and 10.88 seconds.
The win came under rainy conditions, but on a track that he regularly trains on and in front of his family and friends.
“I train here every Tuesday and Thursday, so it was good to win on home soil,” said Howse.
“It felt pretty good, I’ve raced against most of the guys before, so I just raced how I thought would be best and got enough of a lead where I could finish strong.”
Howse will also run the 1500m on Saturday, an event he has the top qualifying time for heading into the race.
“Hope to medal, I don’t know what colour just hoping for gold, we’ll see,” he said.
This weekend marks just the third time the Central Zone has ever hosted track and field provincials, with the others in Camrose and Stettler. The event is most often held in either Calgary or Edmonton.
Nearly 1,200 athletes from high schools across Alberta will compete in the two-day event.
Track committee member Kathy Lalor, a teacher at Lindsay Thurber said hosting is a dream come true for the school and a product of almost a full year worth of work to stage the event.
“We have a super group of people. Weather is always a concern but it turned it out to be a decent day,” she said Friday afternoon.
“It’s so exciting to see this event take place in your hometown, on your own track. I think a lot of the kids are feeling that. Kids from Red Deer and Central Alberta are getting a chance to compete in front of people they don’t necessarily get to.”
Lalor added seeing kids from Red Deer and Central Alberta compete close to come was extremely special for all those involved in organizing.
“We really wanted to do this because we have some teachers that are nearing the end of their careers and have never had a chance to experience this at home. It’s a little bit of a dream for us to do this for our kids,” she said.
Other top five finishes from Central Zone athletes on Friday included: Jacob Berdahl, Eckville, intermediate discus (first, 40.91m), Kaitlyn Swartz, Lacombe, senior 800m (first, 2:16.28) Neema Leon, St. Joseph High School, senior long jump (third, 5.03m), Jake Gusse, Wetaskiwin, senior javelin (third, 44.65m), Sydney Larsen, Hunting Hills, intermediate high jump (fourth, 1.45m), Kaya Knight, Lacombe, junior 800m (fourth, 2:26.62), Josh Campbell, Lindsay Thurber, intermediate 800m (fifth, 2:04.83), Stephanie Pacholko, Bentley, junior shot put (fifth, 10.26m), Josh Campbell, Lindsay Thurber, intermediate 3000m (fifth, 9:33.47), Journey Flewell, Lindsay Thurber, (fifth, 2:32.14).
To check out all the live results, head to www.ellistiming.ca/ASAATF/LiveResults/ or watch the live stream at www.asaa.ca/championships/site/2018-track-and-field-provincials/watch-live.