Local track team heading to national meet in Toronto
A local track team is preparing for the chance of a lifetime to compete on the national stage.
Twelve students from the Airdrie Koinonia Christian School will be one of two teams representing Alberta at the Nike High School Grand Prix, a national, invitational track meet that will be held in Toronto May 9 to 12.
“We’re so excited,” said the school’s track coach Danelle Bohnet. “We have an awesome group of boys and they’re thrilled. We didn’t think our little school would be chosen.”
Mark Harrison, president of TrojanOne, the meet’s marketing partner, came up with the idea for the event in collaboration with Nike Canada in order to promote track and field in high schools across the country.
The inaugural meet was held last year.
“It was a great success,” Harrison said. “Nothing like it currently exists in Canada. We were able to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our athletes. For some of the kids, it was their first time leaving their hometown, first time in Toronto and even their first time on a plane. We had kids from Penticton making friends with kids from Yellowknife. Hopefully it was an experience they’ll always remember.”
Teams were required to apply to take part in the meet and had to write an essay to the Alberta Schools Athletics Association (ASAA) saying why they deserved to be the Alberta representative. The teams were chosen based on “merits of sportsmanship, excellence in sport and dedication to academics,” according to Harrison.
Koinonia School currently operates out of a church, uses portables and doesn’t have a gymnasium, so Bohnet saw the meet as a chance to promote athletics within the school and give the team a chance to compete at a higher level.
The team will consist of 12 male athletes in grades 9 to 12 and they will have a chance to compete in all the standard track events, including sprints, long distance races and field events. The team recently began training at Crossfit Airdrie in preparation for the meet and has also been running with the Airdrie Aces track club,
The team won’t be spending the entire weekend in Toronto on the track, however. It’ll also get a chance to tour the city, take in the culture of Toronto and stay in the University of Victoria residences.
While Bohnet is looking forward to seeing the team compete on the track, she’s more excited about what the students will take from the trip and bring home to the student body.
“It’s going to be an experience for them to grow as people,” she said. “I love to see our boys succeed and how hard they’re working. I’m so proud of them and they’re going to represent Alberta well.
“It’s going to be a great leadership opportunity for them to take what they learn and bring it back to our school. Hopefully it gets them excited about extracurricular sports.”
A team of 12 female athletes from Cochrane High School is the other group representing Alberta at the meet.