The last major event for the Manitoba High School Athletic Association was the track & field provincials in Winnipeg. Portage Collegiate had one top-three finisher but head coach Derek Casper is very proud of how all the athletes performed.
"Some of them came and gained some experience for the next four years, which is awesome for them. A few of them made top-eight finishes," Casper explains. "Aaron Ruchkall ended up getting silver in javelin and that was a very good accomplishment. Some people hit personal bests, and when you go to an event like that, you just want to try and get a personal best. If it happens to get you on the podium, that's a bonus."
Casper says the event was put together very well and notes the students who attended had a ton of fun.
"I would say it's the biggest run event for the MHSAA. There has to be close to 500 athletes there, if not more," Casper continues. "When you're athletes aren't in an event, there's always something exciting to go and watch or cheer on. This one kid ended up winning the high jump event, jumping 1.9 metres, and he just started track three weeks prior. Those natural athletes come out of the woodwork, and it's pretty special to see."
Overall, Casper says it was good for the students to get back to such a large-scale event after being without it for the last two years due to COVID. He adds the weather was perfect for the occasion and notes they were lucky to have mother nature cooperate as well as she did.
The track coach is excited to see how the younger athletes improve next year.