George McDougall student wins gold medal at Alberta High School Track and Field Provincials
By: Lucas Punkari
| Posted: Thursday, Jun 12, 2014 11:08 am
As his warm-up throws went off course the place at the Foothills Athletic Park in Calgary, George McDougall Mustangs track and field athlete Adam Sleik wasn’t sure where his opening toss was going to end up in the junior boys’ discus event at the Alberta High School Provincial championships on June 6.
In the end, the Grade 10 student didn’t have to worry, as his opening toss of 40.53 metres was enough to win a gold medal in his first trip to the provincials.
“My throws were really bad in the warm-up, so I was a bit nervous going into it, especially since I was one of the first guys in the field of 16 who had to throw,” Sliek said.
“Once I let it go, I was super excited about it, but I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t a foul so I exited the circle really carefully,” he added. “Then when they announced that it was over 40-metres, I was just so happy.”
While he wouldn’t surpass the 40-metre plateau in his remaining five throws, Sleik had an easy win over his competition, as he had a two-and-a-half metre gap over St. Albert’s Brandon Jillings.
However, Sliek wasn’t feeling relaxed as the final throws were taking place.
“The kid who finished in second behind me kept throwing further and further each round, so that kind of scared me a little bit,” Sleik recalled.
“But he was unable to get over 38.06 metres, so I was able to breathe a little bit easier.”
“It was a really cool feeling to go up on the podium and get the gold medal,” he added. “You usually don’t have that happen at most track meets, so that made it pretty special for me.”
Sleik’s first-place performance for the Mustangs marked the first time since 2009 that a George McDougall student has won a gold medal at the provincial track meet.
That year, Patrick Walker took home the gold medal in the senior boys’ shot put, and Jill MacEachen finished in first place in the senior girls’ long jump, triple jump, and 80-metre hurdle events.
“We ordered the banner for Adam to hang up on the wall earlier this week, but I don’t think it will actually go up on the rafters until we come back for the start of the new school year,” Mustangs Track and Field Coach Ryan Haggerty said.
“It was great to see Adam be able to perform to the best of his abilities at the provincials as well,” he added. “He was consistent with his throws, and to see the excitement on his face when he won was a great experience.”
Sleik plans to compete with the Mustangs track and field team once again next year, but he will be increasing his workload as he heads into Grade 11.
“I think that along with the discus, I will be doing the shot put, and the 100-metre hurdles,” Sleik said.
“Coach Haggerty has wanted me to compete in some more events, and now that I know what to expect throughout the high school track and field provincials, I think I’m ready for it,” he added.