By Larry Moko
Just call it a leap of faith.
Long jumper Laila Hampson of the Bishop Ryan Celtics was confident she could set a record in that event on opening day of the two-day Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference high school track and field championships Thursday.
And sure enough, in her second and final attempt, she did just that. Her distance was 5.24 metres, bettering the previous GHAC senior girls’ mark of 5.21m set by Christ the King’s Sarah Fillier in 2018.
“I wanted to break the record,” Hampson said. “I walked into the competition hoping for it.
“I won here in Grade 9 and won again in Grade 12 It’s been a long day. I’m really proud of what I did.”
In addition to her gold medal, the Hamilton Olympic Club member picked up a silver in the 100m. She ran a 12.73, edged out by race winner Hailey Reid of the St. Mary Crusaders (12.69).
In the long jump, Hampson shut it down after only two attempts to focus on the end-of-the-day dash qualification attempts.
“I have a long season ahead and my coach advised me to conserve my energy,” she said. “I got what I wanted today so I didn’t want to expend any more than I had to.”
Bishop Ryan coach Michael Hall said Hampson will also be entered in the 200m.
“She’s very experienced,” Hall said. “She knows what she’s doing. She corrects herself and is very professional in her approach.”
The Celtics lead the male team point standings after Day 1 with 119.66 and are third in the female standings (65.5).
After a two-year layoff due to COVID restrictions, track is back in a big way. There are 1,424 entries from 32 schools representing the Hamilton Catholic and two Halton boards.
The top five GHAC finishers in each event advance to the South Regional championships May 26-27 in St. Catharines.
A two-event winner from the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association was Reid. She also raced to victory in the 100m hurdles (14.56).
The Dodds sisters of the St. Thomas More Knights each won a race. Olivia took the senior girls’ 1500m in 4:54.78 while Amelia captured the senior 400m in 58.69.
Another winner from the HWCAA included triathlon enthusiast Sage Sulentic of St. Mary who finished first in the inaugural open boys’ 2,000m steeplechase (6:25.02).
St. Mary also picked up victories by Jacob Finlay in the novice boys’ 100m (11.80), by senior girls’ javelin thrower Samantha Guay (28.65m), and by a junior boy Noah Canzio in javelin (35.90).
Another first-time event at Mohawk Sports Complex was the pole vault and Mark Skerl of the St. John Henry Newman won in senior boys. He cleared the bar at 1.52m.
A Bishop Tonnos Titans first-place finish came in the novice girls’ 1500m by Chloe Seiler. Her time was 5:24.18.
Ben Kingston, in novice boys’ 100m hurdles, also won for BR with a clocking of 17.00.
Other top five finishers from the HWCAA included: Dinari Marshall, St. Thomas More, JB long jump; Mark Skerl, St. John Henry Newman, SB high jump; Caitlin Davidson and Kiyara Millwood, Bishop Ryan, SG high jump; Viany Katendie, Bishop Ryan, JB high jump; Kylee Boehmer, Bishop Ryan, JG high jump; Crispin Johnson, Bishop Ryan, NB high jump; Gianni Pirrera, Bishop Ryan, OB steeplechase; Alex DiFrancesco, Newman, OB steeplechase; Marco Cuce, Bishop Ryan, BII 100m; Nicholas Fricano, Tonnos, BII 100m; Stella Amoah, More, NG 80m hurdles; Mark Vrataric, Bishop Ryan, NB 100m hurdles; Joshua Milano, Cathedral, NB 100m hurdles; Nolan Schmid, Bishop Ryan, NB 100m hurdles; Jessica Schmid, Bishp Ryan, JG 80m hurdles; Mitchell B’jorn, Bishop Ryan, JB 100m hurdles; Shantel Berrio, More, SG 100m hurdles; Idrissa Bah, Bishop Ryan, SB 110m hurdles; Ben Kingston, Bishop Ryan, NB 1500m; Clara Fava, Tonnos, JG 1500m; Olivia Solly, Tonnos, SG 1500; Alysia Mule, More, NG 400m; Paulo Spadano, Tonnos, NB 400m; Jake Peters, Tonnos, JB 1500; J’Noy Davis, Bishop Ryan, SB 400m; Alessia Ruiu, Bishop Ryan, NG 100m; Noah Methot, Cathedral, NB 100m; Seanna Garcia, St. Jean de Brebeuf, JG 100m; Avery Belgrave, More, JB 100m; Roman Sardo, Bishop Ryan, JB 100m; Abduoulaye Bah, Bishop Ryan, SB 100m; Nolan Schmid, Bishop Ryan, NB javelin; Crispin Johnson, Bishop Ryan, NB javelin; Connor Xing, More, JB javelin; John Harrison, Bishop Ryan, SB javelin; Maichel Wolday, Newman, SB javelin; Josh Padmore, Bishop Ryan, SB javelin; Deborah Elugbaju, Bishop Ryan, NG javelin; Elizabeth Andrychuk, Bishop Ryan, JG javelin; Faith Romero, Bishop Ryan, JG javelin; Lucas Baresi, Newman, SB long jump; Baraa Benelhadji, Bishop Ryan, NG high jump.
The Toronto Track and Field Centre at York University will be the site of the June 2-4 OFSAA championships.