The 2012 OFSSA Track and Field Championships were held in Brockville June 7-9, and two grade 9 students, Jared Ruest and Hannah Woodhouse, from Meaford's Georgian Bay Secondary School earned the honour to compete against Ontario's top high school athletes on Saturday.
Both Jr. Coyote members qualified for the 3000m event by placing in the top four last weekend at the OFSSA West Regional track meet in Windsor.
Prior to the race, Jared was seeded 7th in the grade 9 boys 3000m race and Hannah was seeded 11th in the grade 9 girls 3000m event. Careful training and race strategy came into play to effectively utilize their strengths in this highly competitive field to keep them out of trouble during the event so they could perform at their very best.
Conditions were near perfect with about 24'C, sun and clouds with a light headwind along the back stretch of the track.
Hannah Woodhouse raced first. Her goal was to get out fast for the first 100m to avoid the massive crowd of 24 girls as they jostled for position coming off the first turn. Elbows were up and aggression was intense for the first 20 seconds, but Hannah had an amazing start, positioning herself perfectly for the rest of the race. Hannnah ran her most aggressive race ever, chasing down her competitors and winning every battle within the race. With 100m to go, Hannah kicked into high gear and held off her Regional rival with a powerful finishing sprint. Her new personal best time of 10:32.98 placed her 8th overall, edging out 9th place by 0.23 seconds. She improved her personal best time by over 17 seconds from the week before at the OFSSA Regional competition.
Jared Ruest knew his race was going to be fast and aggressive as most of the 24 competitors had very similar race seed times. His start had a similar game plan to get out quick and stay out of trouble on the first turn. He executed that part of his race perfectly as elbows were flying with pushing and shoving going on as they jockeyed for valuable positions. To place well, Jared had to be patient for the race to unfold, yet at the same time be aggressive to make sure he was well positioned to go when the race really started. He also executed that perfectly. With about 1500m to go, Jared was sitting in a close 5th place, looking ahead about 7 seconds at the third place runner. Continuing his aggressive strategy, he pushed the pace and went after third. It almost worked, but he spent a bit too much energy trying. With 50m to the finish line, he was sprinting with all he had left. Fourth place was only 1.5 seconds ahead of him, but a final surge from two other competitors over took Jared at the end. Jared's new personal best time of 9:18.22 placed him 7th place overall and 9 seconds behind 3rd place. Jared improved his personal best time by over 8 seconds from last week's Regional event.
Both Hannah and Jared are extremely proud of their performances. Their training and dedication over the winter months has paid off well for them. They are both competing next weekend in Guelph at an Ontario Legion track and field meet. They have had a very difficult last 4 weeks of racing so this Legion meet will be very low key for them as they are choosing races just for fun and experience to work on their speed.
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