Members of the Airdrie Aces Athletic Club wrapped up the 2017-18 indoor track and field season March 3 and 4 at the 2018 Alberta Indoor Track and Field Championships in Edmonton.
“They can take away a lot (from the indoor season) because you still look at the rankings overall, and number one in the province still means the same to kids that compete again in the outdoor season,” said Aces distance coach and president Jodie Matsuba-Szucs.
“In track and field, it’s all about the outdoor season and the target is nationals, of course.”
A handful of Aces had strong podium finishes, bringing home a grand total of seven medals – five gold, one silver and one bronze. There were also personal- or season-bests for the majority of the competitors that made the trek north.
Gold medals went to Jalen Greenidge, who set a new personal best of 6.1 metres (m) in the Under-18 Men’s long jump; Princess Roberts, who took home gold in Under-18 Women’s 300m dash and silver in the Under-18 Women’s 60m sprint; and Rachel Andres, who made waves as an athlete and coach to take gold in Senior Women’s three-kilogram (kg) shot put.
It was double the victory for Jinaye Shomachuk, who brought home a pair of gold medals in the Midget Women’s weight throw and three-kg shot put.
“(Shomachuk and I) had a good chuckle because she won, but she could have easily broken the indoor provincial record,” Matsuba-Szucs said, adding the athlete had routinely been throwing 16-plus meters in practice but only managed a 14m throw at the event.
“Sometimes, your competition just doesn’t go the way you want and you can’t bring your ‘A’ game 100 per cent of the time.”
Peter Roberts rounded out the medal haul for the Aces with a third-place finish in the Midget Men’s 300m dash, finishing just 0.01 seconds behind the second-place finisher. Tristan Remus-Arevalo just missed out on the podium, finishing fourth in the Midget Men long jump.
One athlete’s performance stood out to Matsuba-Szucs – Michael Stewart was named the Quest Orthodontics Athlete of the Meet.
Coming into his second event since suffering an injury in January, Stewart ran a personal best in the Under-20 Men 600m run, finishing sixth.
“For him to improve on his 600m the way he did was just amazing. I was just so happy for him,” Matsuba-Szucs said. “Not too many times does your athlete come across the finish line and the first thing you want to do is give him this great big hug, but I did because he was so pleased and I was so pleased for him.”
With the indoor season over, the Aces now turns its attention to the outdoor season. Matsuba-Szucs said the outdoor season is the club’s primary focus – the indoor season is utilized mainly as an opportunity for training and preparation.
Most of the Aces will spend March and April transitioning from indoor to outdoor training. The club’s first outdoor meet of the 2018 season will be May 12 and 13, at the Calgary Spring Challenge.