Provincial podium finishes have been a dream for track and field coach Jason Fisher, ever since he came to Hope Secondary in 2006. Now he has one.
Jarek Inancsi, a grade 11 student in his second year with the team, won third place in the provincial senior decathlon at Rotary Stadium in Abbotsford last weekend. (The multi-event provincials are run as a separate competition from the regular track and field provincials, due to time and space constraints.)
Fellow grade 11 classmate, Jeremiah Steberl placed a close fourth in the ten-discipline event, which tests an athlete’s mettle in ten running, throwing, jumping and vaulting skills.
“There were only seven boys entered this year,” said coach Fisher, who specialized in decathlon when he was a student “but this is the best provincial result for a Hope athlete since I’ve been here. As far as I know, this is the first-ever track and field medal from Hope.” Inancsi placed fifth in shot put in the junior provincials last year and did most of his training in the other events on the HSS field, which lacks a pole vault pit.
“I went in as many events as I could at the Chilliwack district meets and I competed in the shot and the 100 and 200 meter sprints at the Upper Fraser Valleys,” said Inancsi on Monday. At the provincial event, which ran on Friday and Saturday, Inancsi equaled his personal best to win the shot put, with a 10.56m toss of a 6-kilo shot.
“I had never high jumped at a meet before — but I came third in that, with a 1.64 meter jump,” he added. “I think I got 2.5 meters in the pole vault, where I was third. Jeremiah was first.
“Long jump went pretty well, too. I think I was third there, with 4.6 meters,” said Inancsi, whose main sport is hockey, where he plays defence. “The 1500 meter, though I’m not much of a distance runner and I finished last.”
Placings in each event — and the personal measurements or times — are totaled, to give the overall standings.“The top two were grade twelves,” said Inancsi, “so next year, I’m hoping to win.”
Steberl will there to push him, though Steberl has his own motivations. He, along with Tansie Pauls (senior girls discus) and Marcus Aubin (junior boys discuss) will be competing in single events at the provincials at Langley in early June.
Steberl placed second in pole vault at the junior provincials last year and placed second at the Fraser Valleys, to qualify for the senior provincials this year.
“My personal best is 3.1 meters, set at qualifications for provincials in Abby,” said Steberl on Monday. “I am taking this opportunity at provincials to observe and learn — that and set a new PB. My goal is to break the school record of 3.2 meters, set by my brother, Matthew.
“I’ve been vaulting since grade 8, when Mr. Fisher started me out with an eight-foot-long PVC pipe, just practicing the technique in the sand pit,” recalled Steberl. “Mr. Fisher has invested a lot of his time in teaching me what I know.”
Coach Fisher said 18 athletes from grade 7 to 12 competed for the school this year. He said Autumn Perry White was the first-ever Hope girl to compete provincially in the heptathlon, placing fifteenth at the event last weekend. Inancsi (senior shot put) and Jordan Gauthier (junior hammer) have a chance of qualifying for the provincials through an “open zone” option. They will hear about their chances by this weekend, said Fisher.