The Airdrie Aces Athletic Club took part in its first track event of the 2017-18 indoor season at the Jack Simpson Open Jan. 7, where 36 of its athletes competed against some of the top athletes in western Canada.
The event was a success for the Aces, as the team brought home 20 medals – including seven gold, nine silver and four bronze – as well as strong performances from athletes ranging from the youngest age groups to the 17-year-olds.
“This was probably one of the best team showings (for us) ever,” said Aces president and distance coach Jodie Matsuba-Szucs. “The performances by everybody were just spectacular.
“The kids are working hard and it’s paid off.”
Changing up from what the team has done in prior years, the Aces elected to not have its older athletes compete in indoor events before this one to allow its athletes a better transition from outdoor season competition.
Matsuba-Szucs said the coaches felt it would benefit the athletes to have more time to get comfortable training for indoor events before heading into competition.
It seemed that decision paid off as the team had one of its most successful outings in the club’s history.
Tayemak Kelsick was on a roll at the University of Calgary, capturing gold in all three of the events he took part in (60-metre, 150-metre and 400-metre sprints). Due to his impressive performance, Kelsick was named the Junior Development group Quest Orthodontic Athlete of the Meet by his coaches Jill Maceachen and Maggie McFarlane.
The Junior Development group continued to dominate at the meet, with a pair of relay teams consisting of Sehaj Grewal, Balkaran Dhilon, Udahy Bath and Eric Klemm (Peewee boys’ 4×200-metre Relay) and Heidi Klemm, Aisha Lerner-Kardash, Kayla Novak and Ashlyn Mack (Bantam girls’ 4×200-metre Relay) each winning gold in their respective events.
Sprint athlete Princess Roberts earned a gold medal in the girls’ 16+ 300-metre run, beating athletes much older and more experienced to win her first race of 2018.
Roberts was named the Sprint group’s Athlete of Meet for her performance.
“We know she has talent, but the open category at these small Calgary meets are 16-plus, so there is no youth, junior or senior (categories),” Matsuba-Szucs said. “You could be running against people as old as 25 years old.
“This is going to be a great year (for Roberts).”
Noah Aman rounded out the gold medal haul with an impressive 9.95 seconds in the boys’ 10 and under 60-metre (m) sprint.
Silver medals were awarded to Aman (boys’ 10 and under 150m sprint), Thalia Arevalo-Remus (girls’ 13-year-old 60m sprint), Sara Zinck (girls’ 15-year-old 60m and 150m sprints), Rebeca Agoston (girls’ 13-year-old 150m sprint), Novak (girls’ 11-year-old 150m sprint), Peter Roberts (boys’ 15-year-old 150m sprint) Liam Good (boys’ 13-year-old 1,200m run) and the boys’ open relay 4x200m, consisting of Jalen Greenidge, Chase Aman, Rudy Buchanan and Kurt Schulz.
Good was named the Distance Group Athlete of the Meet after absolutely crushing his personal best in the 1,200m event, finishing 45 seconds better than his previous best.
Kashay Kelsick (boys’ 15-year-old 60m sprint), Klemm (boys’ 10 and under 400m run), Arevalo-Remus (girls’ 13-year-old 150m sprint) and Agoston (girls’ 13-year-old 60m sprint) brought bronze back to Airdrie for the Aces.
The Aces will take two weeks of training before heading on the road with its 14-year-old and up athletes to compete in the Golden Bear Open at the University of Alberta in Edmonton Jan. 20 and 21.