It never ceases to impress School District 27 track and field meet organizer Kelvin Parent how competitive the event is each year.
Athletes converged at Nesika and Columneetza schools June 10 for the annual event that saw 329 of the city’s top elementary school athletes in grades 4-6 making up 1,200 entries to compete in five events.
The final event – the 1,000 metre race which was cancelled last Thursday due to rain – will determine the overall standings and results and be held on June 22.
Schools attending the track meet included Mountview, Chilcotin Road, Cataline, Nesika, Marie Sharpe, 150 Mile, Sacred Heart Catholic School, Grow Cubs (home schooled students in the district) and Big Lake.
“These kids compete hard,” Parent said. “The standards [to qualify] keep getting tougher. We give them a minimum of what they have to achieve so they’ve got to work a little harder at their home meets. Each year we probably have less athletes but much tighter races.”
He said he’s seen a shift over the years from athletes who specialize in just one or two events to athletes who compete in all five or six.
“That’s probably the big difference from way back,” he said. “What we see now are kids who are a much higher calibre of athlete doing more events.”
Parent added it’s always a bonus when records dating back to the 1970s and 80s get broken.
This year, Gabrielle Knox was the only athlete to achieve the feat where she beat the girls’ ages 9-10 100-metre record posting a time of 15 seconds flat, toppling the previous record by .06 seconds.
Once the 1,000-metre takes place, Parent said what are currently extremely tight standings will fall into place.
“We know who’s going to win the overall [school], but schools can still move into second,” he said. “Gold, silver and bronze aggregates are also still completely up in the air. This race will make or break who gets the aggregates.”
The 1,000-metre takes place at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 22 at the Columneetza track.