Speedsters on their way to Ontario meet

Her trail leg took a beating along the way, but Taysia Radoslav of Cardinal Newman has cleared the final hurdle to qualify for the 2013 Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations track and field championships.

The 16-year-old Grade 11 student punched her ticket for next week’s provincial high finals in Oshawa by easily winning the senior girls’ 400-metre hurdles at the South Region meet in St. Catharines on Friday (May 31).

Taysia Radoslav (210) of Cardinal Newman cleared the 400m hurdles for a first place finish. (Photo: Gerry Graham)

A gold medallist (in the 300m hurdles) and a bronze medallist (in the 400m) at OFSAA as a junior last year in Brockville, Radoslav captured this year’s senior 400m hurdles event at the Niagara Olympic Club in one minute, 5.74 seconds.

“The wind on the backstretch added a force behind me,” Radoslav said. “My stride pattern was off. I was hitting the hurdles in 16 steps instead of 17. I hammered three or four hurdles. I almost went down. It was a hard race to finish. It wasn’t nearly my best time (four seconds slower).

“I wasn’t as good as I want to be, but I still have OFSAA.”

On Day 1 of the competition, Radoslav also qualified for OFSAA in the 400 metres by placing second – it was originally determined to be third. Her time was 56.90 seconds.

“That was a big PB for me (on Thursday),” the Burlington Track and Field Club member said. “I wanted to run hard today (Friday) but when I showed up, my hips were tight. I pushed through and ran the race.”

Radoslav’s goal is to be selected to represent Canada at the World Youth Championships, an international competition set for Donetsk, Ukraine in July.

“The deadline is June 20,” she said. “They pick the top two in each event. Right now, I’m second in my event. It’s all about times. My 61.55 (in the 400m hurdles) is second in Canada. I’m trying to be first.”

In other action at the meet for athletes from Niagara, Hamilton-Wentworth, Halton and Peel, Christian Brennan of St. Mary was again named Outstanding Female of the competition. Brennan, who won the 400 metres Thursday in 55.29, breezed to victory in the 200m on Friday in 24.60.

Christian Brennan (1067) of St. Mary was named Outstanding Female of the South Region competition. (Photo: Gerry Graham)

It’s been a long road to recovery from injury for the OFSAA record holder from Waterdown, but she seems to be getting there. Her problems began last season with shin splints and a stress fracture in her right foot.

“Today I felt better physically than I did yesterday,” Brennan said. “I think I was out in the sun too much. I know what I have to do for OFSAA to get faster.”

Brennan, who has competed for Canada before, is considered a strong candidate to run in the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships in Medellin, Colombia in August. The team will be appointed by Athletics Canada. Before that, she’ll likely be taking part in the national senior and junior championships in New Brunswick and Quebec, respectively.

Another double gold winner from the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board was Robert Heppenstall of St. Thomas More. He took the junior boys’ 800m in 1:56.05. On opening day, he crossed the finish line in 49.34 to win at 400 metres.

Brebeuf’s Cassidy Noonan throws the javelin in the field events at the South Region championship. (Photo: Gerry Graham)

In field events, Meaghan Rice of St. Mary competed in shot put, long jump and triple jump. She finished tied for third in the junior girls’ long jump (4.87 metres) and was second in triple jump (10.89).

“She’s a gymnast, too,” St. Mary coach Steve Scime said of Rice, a 15-year-old Waterdown resident who competes for the Burlington Gymnastics Club. “A lot of that has helped. Over the last year, she has been working on more technique. Her takeoffs and landings and things like that have improved.”

Scime said Rice won the GHAC championship in shot put earlier this month, setting a school record. Rice also is a member of Hamilton’s HEAT track and field club.

“I want to focus on track and field and ease out of gymnastics,” Rice said. “I don’t want to quit right away.”

Marissa Codispodi of Bishop Tonnos also qualified for OFSAA with a fourth- place finish in the senior girls’ 800m (2:19.88).