Despite windy conditions, members of the Airdrie Aces posted a strong showing at the Jack Brow Memorial track and field meet June 30 to July 1 in Kelowna.
Six Aces athletes made the trip west, with three earning personal bests and collecting a total of 10 medals, to boot.
“Any time you get personal bests, it’s nice,” said Aces president and distance coach Jodi Matsuba-Szucs.
“We try not to focus too much on the placing and more on the personal bests (PB). You could run your best race ever and be eighth, and then, in another race, you get gold but it’s not a PB.”
The Aces won first and second in the youth men’s 400-metre (m) hurdles. Seventeen-year-old Rudy Buchannan secured gold and a personal best with a time of 1:00.50.
Middle-distance runner Aiden Good placed second to Buchanan in the same race with a time of 1:04.89. He earned a second silver medal in the 800-m race, finishing in 2:01.45.
Matsuba-Szucs said the annual Jack Brow meet has many benefits for Aces athletes, including boosting the confidence of runners heading into a packed July schedule.
“I like Kelowna because – for the distance athletes – the longer races, you just feel better,” she said. “We have much better oxygen-carrying capacity, coming from Alberta.”
In the midget women categories, 15-year-old Sara Zinck won gold for the Aces in the 300-m hurdles with a time of 48.93 seconds. Zinck also made the podium in the 300-m sprint, earning the silver medal with a time of 42.55 seconds. She capped off a strong performance in Kelowna by placing fourth in the 200-m sprint with a time of 26.74 seconds.
The younger Aces athletes performed well in the throws. Good’s younger brother Liam, 13, set a new personal best in the second year bantam men’s shot put with a distance of 7.96 metres, while 13-year-old Brinleigh Bean earned bronze medals in the bantam women’s discus throw and shot put. Bean threw the discus 17.78 metres and her shot put distance was 7.35 metres.
In her first outdoor meet, 12-year-old Ashlyn Mack finished in 17th place in the bantam women’s 800-m race with a time of 3:08.81 and finished the 1,200-m run in twelfth place, clocking in at 5:01.20.
Another Airdronian who competed at the Jack Brow Memorial was multi-sport athlete Jasmine Szucs, of the Calgary Spartans club. Szucs placed seventh in the long jump with a distance of 4.65 metres, and also earned a personal best in the 100-m sprint, finishing ninth with a time of 13.47 seconds.
While not the most hectic time of year, July is still a busy month for Aces athletes, with track and field meets occurring every weekend. Next up for the athletics club will be the provincial meet for bantam, midget and youth athletes from July 14 to 15 in Calgary, followed by the Alberta Summer Games in Grande Prairie from July 19 to 22.
The Tri-Province Western Canadian Championships, from July 28 to 29 in Sherwood Park, will cap off a busy month for the Aces.