Okanagan Zone Champs: Provincial Berths Earned

The 2024 Okanagan Zone Championships, held at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops, served as a thrilling prelude to the BC High School Provincial Championships. The event brought together top athletes from multiple Interior zones, all vying for a spot in the Provincials Championships. The meet showcased talent across various disciplines, with athletes battling tough conditions at times, but that didn't deter the athletes from showing up and putting their best foot forward. While there are too many performances to highlight, here are just some of the standouts:

Sprint Sensations:

Pishon Haughton, a nationally ranked sprinter, demonstrated his grit despite challenging headwinds. Haughton, who ended the 2023 season ranked second in Canada in the U18 400m, clocked impressive times earlier in the season at the Oregon Relays, having run 47.31 seconds over 400m. At the Zone Championships, he dominated the sprint events, winning the 100m in 11.33 seconds (-3.0 m/s wind) and the 200m in 22.88 seconds (-4.5 m/s wind), showcasing his ability to still show up against strong gusts.

In the hurdles, Portia Comber and Kiera McGrath delivered an electrifying finish in the Junior Girls 300m hurdles. Comber edged out McGrath by just 0.01 seconds, finishing in 48.11 seconds compared to McGrath's 48.12 seconds. Lily Stroda  won the Junior Girls 80m hurdles in 11.62 seconds.

Distance Dominance:

The distance races saw several athletes excel in multiple events. Lienke Raath dominated the Junior Girls category, winning the 800m (2:22.01), 1500m (4:51.73), and the 1500m steeplechase (5:29.51). Miles Hayden mirrored this success in the Junior Boys division, taking gold in both the 800m (2:04.69) and the 1500m (4:14.24).

In the Senior Girls events, Raiya Matonovich showcased her dominance by winning the 800m in 2:12.30, with a remarkable 20-second lead to second place, and the 1500m in 4:44.97. On the Senior Boys side, Maverick Rahkola claimed victory in the 800m with a time of 1:59.21 and the 1500m in 4:20.84.

Stepping up in  distance, Amelia-ahn Lou triumphed in the Junior Girls 3000m, finishing in 10:34.76, over a minute ahead of her next closest competitor. Peter Kunka won the Senior Boys 3000m by over 30 seconds, clocking in at 9:15.51.

Field Event Feats:

The field events saw several remarkable performances. Payton Heer had an outstanding leap of 1.70m in the Junior Girls high jump. In the throws, Hanna Stevens won the Junior Girls shot put with a mark of 10.87m. Karina Becker excelled in the Senior Girls category, winning the shot put (11.76m) and the discus (35.44m).

Molly Strinholm took the Junior Girls hammer with a throw of 35.16m, while Elise Drake dominated the Senior Girls hammer, winning with a mark of 51.33m, over 15 meters ahead of the competition.

Among the boys, Zander Van Zyl impressed in the Senior category, winning the shot put (21.81m) and the discus (39.06m). Aiden Arnold excelled in the Junior Boys hammer (30.86m) and discus (30.63m), while Terrel Huggins, a standout Grade 8 athlete, won the discus with a throw of 36.57m and the shot put with 12.53m.

Onto the Next

The 2024 Okanagan Zone Championships highlighted the depth of talent in the region, with numerous athletes delivering exceptional performances. The meet not only served as a qualifier for the BC High School Provincial Championships but also provided a platform for young athletes to gain valuable competitive experience. As these athletes prepare for their next stage, the Provincial Championships promise to be an exciting showcase of high school athletic talent.