Just ask Christian Brennan, who, during her fabulous four-year running career at Hamilton’s St. Mary Catholic Secondary School, has eclipsed numerous Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations track and field marks for excellence.
The printed program for the 2013 OFSAA championships at the Civic Fields, for example, listed Brennan’s performances as being the fastest all-time in seven separate Ontario and Canadian Interscholastic age group and event categories.
While Brennan didn’t break any records this year, she made a point of seeking out rising star Kyra Constantine of Brampton St. Roch Catholic Secondary School to offer congratulations on the rookie’s success. Constantine shattered one of Brennan’s records in the midget 400m Friday en route to capturing gold medals in the midget 100, 200 and 400 metres.
Brennan accomplished the same OFSAA triple when she was in Grade 9.
“It was a nice thing to do,” St. Mary coach Steve Scime said of Brennan’s ‘way-to-go’ gesture of sportsmanship towards Constantine. “Usually, when you break somebody’s record they are long gone.”
Some photographs were also shot of the two speedsters together.
“I said ‘congratulations, keep doing what you’re doing,’” Brennan said. ‘“We’ll have an unreal relay team in 2016.”’ – a reference to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Brennan closed the book on her own OFSAA story by winning a gold medal in the senior girls’ 400m on Friday (55.69 seconds) plus a silver in the 200m on Saturday. That gives the 18-year-old Waterdown resident a total of eight golds and two silvers at provincial high school championships since 2010.
Said Scime: “I think she’s one of the most decorated athletes ever at OFSAA with the amount of gold medals and records she’s had. And to break the Canadian Interscholastic record in the 200m when she was in Grade 10 (23.56) was a huge accomplishment. She should be very proud.”
Brennan, who has been invited to take part in the Toronto International Track and Field Games at Varsity Centre on Tuesday, has agreed to attend the University of Oregon on a track scholarship beginning in September. Scime says he knew Brennan was going to be special the first time he saw her in action.
“You could tell by the way she ran,” Scime said. “She was a very graceful, very smooth runner.”
Christian Brennan runs her final OFSAA race, placing second during a tight four-way finish. (Photo: Gerry Graham)
Brennan, however, came out second best during a tight four-way finish in the 200 metres Saturday. Charifa Labarang of Ottawa’s Omer-Deslauriers won in 24.56, while Brennan crossed the line in 24.72.
“I went hard,” Brennan said, “but in the end, she got me.”
At 400m, Brennan has taken top OFSAA honours at either midget, junior or senior for four straight years. Her club coach is George Kerr of Hamilton Elite Athletics Team (HEAT). Said Kerr: “With youngsters like Kyra and Christian and a few others, they have an opportunity to put together a formidable 4 x400m relay team for the Games (2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero). It’s been a very long time since we had such talent in the 400m event for women and the future seems really bright. The Pan Am Games in 2015 should provide a great preview for the Rio Games.”
More’s Heppenstall brings home 800m goldIn other action involving Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association entrants, Robert Heppenstall of St. Thomas More earned two medals. He took silver in the junior boys’ 400 metres on Friday before breezing to victory in the 800m event on Saturday.
“I felt really good,” Heppenstall said of his clocking of one minute, 54.86 seconds for 800m. “Great day, good track. It all adds up.”
His time was two seconds faster than the runnerup and 4/100s of a second off the provincial high school record set by Trent Sayers of Sinclair in 2007.
Heppenstall, a midget champion in the 400m in 2012, got edged out at the finish line this year at that distance by Davis Edward of London Oakridge. Heppenstall’s time was 49.74, Edward’s 49.48.
“He’s one of my friends,” Heppenstall said of Edward. “He outsmarted me. He ran a better race. He saved it for the end. That’s where it all counts. It doesn’t matter how you start, it’s how you finish.”
Edward grabbed the lead in about the final 70 metres.
“If I could lose to anybody,” Heppenstall said, “it would be to him. He’s a great runner. It just makes me want to work harder for next year. I’ll see him again.”In other events, a disappointed Taysia Radoslav qualified for the final of the senior girls’ 400m hurdles but did not feel well enough to compete. The South Region champion from Cardinal Newman, Radoslav’s heat time earlier in the day was 1:04.30. She still hopes to be selected to represent Canada at the World Youth Championships next month in Donetsk, Ukraine.
On Friday, the Grade 11 student placed seventh in the 400 metres. Her time was 58.02.
Elsewhere at the well-attended three-day meet, Marissa Codispodi of Bishop Tonnos ran the senior girls’ preliminary 800m heat in 2:16.32. That was 12th best and she failed to qualify for the final.
Cassidy Noonan of St. Jean de Brebeuf placed 18th junior girls’ discus with a toss of 25.03m.
Meaghan Rice of St. Mary came 10th in the junior girls’ long jump with a distance of 4.77 metres. She also came sixth in the triple jump (10.58m).
Nathan Petrie of Brebeuf had the 15th fastest time in the midget boys’ 100m hurdle heats (15.19 seconds) and did not qualify for the finals. His Braves teammate, Steven McNicoll, ran the 110m senior boys’ hurdles in 17.16 and, in 21st spot, also failed to advance.