Earlier this month, Wilson O’Neill and Maxx Railton, along with their families and Coach Steadman, headed west to Brandon, Manitoba to compete in the National Youth Track & Field Championships. This event brings many of the best track U16 & U18 athletes in Canada to compete against one another for three days in August.
As a member of the CDS track team for the past two years, Maxx has run the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay. Last year as a grade 9, Maxx experienced great success with the relay team as they won a bronze medal at the OFSAA Championships. In his individual events, Maxx placed 5th and 7th at the CISAA Championships, which meant he would not qualify for the Metro Championships as only the top 4 in each event advanced.
After winning the 60m sprint at the first indoor meet this year, we all took notice. As the season unfolded, Maxx would establish himself as the fastest runner on his relay ream. In fact, he had the honour of anchoring the Junior Boys 4x100m relay team that not only won a gold at OFSAA, but set a new OFSAA record. However, this time Maxx not only made it to OFSAA in the 100m & 200m, but he placed 5th in both events with times (11.38 & 22.62) that met the standard for Youth Nationals.
Over the summer, Maxx and Wilson met at the track to train in preparation for Nationals. Maxx’s first event at Nationals was the 100m. Competing alongside the best U18 athletes in Canada can be very intimidating, but Maxx handled the pressure incredibly well. He was focussed and ready to run his best, and that is exactly what he did. In the 100m, he ran 11.22, which was very close to his personal best of 11.20. This result would place him 11th overall. In the 200m, Maxx ran 23.42, which placed him 13th overall.
As a double gold medalist at OFSAA last year as a grade 10 student, there was a lot of pressure and expectations placed on Wilson whether he realized it or not. It is always an adjustment as a first year senior, but we were still confident that he could make the finals in both hurdle races. After a bad start in the heats, Wilson was determined to have a better start in the 110mH final. Unfortunately, his start was too good and through off his timing going over the first hurdle. He finished the race strongly and ended up placing 8th with a time of 14.80. In the 400mH, he ran 57.24 to place 10th overall. Although Wilson was disappointed with his performances at OFSAA, his times met the standard for Youth Nationals.
Wilson was faced with two choices after a very disappointing end to his high school track season; he could shut it down for the summer and just concentrate on summer school or continue to train for Nationals. When faced with a challenge, one cannot control the situation, but can control the way that they deal with it. Wilson decided not to let his setback define him as an athlete, but instead came to his first summer practice with a great attitude and desire to work even harder in order to get faster over the hurdles.
The first race for Wilson at Nationals was the 110mH. After winning his heat, Wilson guaranteed himself a spot in the finals. One of his goals for the 110mH final was to be first over the first hurdle. Not only did he accomplish this goal, but he also reached his goal of running a PB. This was a breakthrough run for Wilson as his time of 14.05, was below the IAAF World U18 standard. His smile after his race said it all, Wilson was elated with his performance and so were we.
The next event was the 400mH. This event is very technical and requires precision and excellent timing. Throughout the summer Wilson worked hard so that he could use either leg comfortably as his lead (the first leg over the hurdle). It was a very exciting race, as the lead changed a number of times throughout the race. Wilson placed 2nd by two tenths of a second, but more importantly reached his goal of running under the IAAF standard. His time of 54.66 was almost three seconds faster than his race at OFSAA.
Congratulations to both Maxx and Wilson for their outstanding performance at Nationals. Despite some very hot days training and competing you continued to give your best effort. Coach Steadman and the CDS community are super proud of you!