Four Neepawa athletes come away with medals at Nike Grand Prix
Back row: Wyatt Salmon, Nick Noonan-Robinson, Grant Graham, Matthew Sneesby, Connor Paterson, Cole Tardiff, Logan Young, Bryce Koscielny (Coach).
Front Row: Bryson Kaye, Braedon Mitchell, Jason Doerksen, Rylin Mitchler, Lynden Middleton. Missing: Clayton Carefoot (Coach)
By Lanny Stewart
Four members of the Neepawa Collegiate track team came away with medals at the Nike Grand Prix national track meet in Toronto over the weekend.
Lynden Middleton, Nick Noonan-Robinson, Wyatt Salmon and Logan Young were able to come away with podium finishes on Saturday. Middleton won a gold medal in the boys long jump, finishing with a best jump of 6.09 metres. Noonan-Robinson also won a gold medal in the boys 4x100-metre relay. Salmon took home a silver medal in the boys 200-metre, while Young won a bronze in the boys 1500-metre.
“It was a rush. I've never competed against any of those people before,” said Middleton. “At provincials, I've seen the people that you've competed against, where as at a national track meet, there are different people and I wasn't sure what they were capable of.”
Middleton's gold medal didn't come easy as the Grade 12 student had to overcome a rib injury he'd been dealing with for several months.
He says he wasn't able to prepare for an event of this magnitude as much as he would've liked due to the injury, however a well-placed text to track coach Bryce Koscielny during the Grand Prix played a key part in his gold medal win.
“I asked him for advice,” he said. “I basically just went out there and did my best.”
Koscielny was unable to attend the event due to personal reasons. He did however keep track of his team while they were in Toronto and he was very pleased with how the athletes performed.
“Overall, the guys did very well,” said Koscielny on Monday Sports Talk on 880 CKLQ. “A lot of their times and distances were personal bests or close to personal bests. Considering the spring we had and the fact that it was the first track meet of the year for the guys, they did exceptional.”
Clayton Carefoot was one of the Tigers track coaches who did end up going with the team and says the athletes had an amazing time.
“Right from when they were picked up at the airport, they were treated like celebrities,” he said. “They had their own team ambassador and press guy for the weekend.
“The boys still have smiles on their faces and this is something they will not forget,” he continued.
Carefoot says the team took in the sights and sounds of Toronto as well, visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame, the CN Tower and the Nike Sports Lounge.
The team raised approximately $4,000 for the trip though fundraising efforts and donations from local businesses and service groups.
The Neepawa team, which was selected by the Manitoba High School Athletics Association through an application process, consisted of 13 male athletes competing in 10 events. Each province had a male and female team that took part in the event. The female Manitoba team was from the Winnipeg-based Kelvin high school.
The nine other Neepawa athletes who took part in the event were Connor Paterson, Matthew Sneesby, Grant Graham, Braedon Mitchell, Bryson Kaye, Rylin Mitchler, Daniel Heschuk, Cole Tardiff and Jason Doerksen.