On a day where student athletes had to compete against the weather as well as their opponents, St. Mary High School sprinter Seth LeMoal found a way to beat both.
LeMoal pulled away from a tight field on a rain-soaked Harry Jerome Track to win gold in the Midget Boys 400m on Friday. The win made him the first and only Prince Albert athlete to take home a gold medal from the provincial championships held last weekend.
“Don’t let them beat me. That’s about it,” LeMoal chuckled after being asked what was going through his head down the final stretch. “Just push with everything I’ve got left because I’m at provincials, I’m on my home track (and) I’ve got my family watching.”
LeMoal didn’t come into Friday’s event expecting to take home a gold medal, but he surprised himself when he posted the fastest time the preliminary heats. At that point, he began to think he could win the whole thing.
By the end of the day, his time of 55.58 sec stood up as the winner, just ahead of Swift Current’s Rhett Vavra who clocked in at 56.90 sec. Humboldt’s Teijon Abel-Douglas inched his way into third with a time of 57.31 sec.
“I raced in the prelims and I saw my time. It was about a second faster than everyone else. When that happened, it kind of blew my mind because I was like, I have a chance at doing this,” LeMoal said. “When I was sprinting across the finish line, it was just an amazing feeling.”
The St. Mary sprinter added to his medal haul with a silver in the Midget Boys 800m the next day. The performance made him one of four Prince Albert students to take home two medals from the meet, with three coming from the St. Mary track team.
Sabine Cazeau and Kiersten Kalmakoff also took home two medals a piece. Kalmakoff won bronze in the Midget Girls 80m Hurdles and again in the Midget Girls Pole Vault, while Cazeau took home two silvers in the Midget Girls 100m and 200m races.
“It was really exciting to do it (in Prince Albert) since it was my hometown and all my family got to come and watch me,” Cazeau said.
“It was really overwhelming, going for the first time (at provincials), but it was really fun too.”
LeMoal, Cazeau and Kalmakoff helped St. Mary High School surge to a second place finish in the 4A Classification High School Team Competition with 381 points. Only Swift Current Comprehensive High School, with 462 points, had more.
Of the six St. Mary athletes with top three finishes, five came from the midget division, with Damilare Fasusi and Mica Boutin joining LeMoal, Cazeau and Kalmakoff on the podium.
St. Mary High School track coach Kelly Prins said they have a particularly strong group of athletes at that level, but added that the Grade 12 students on the team deserved credit for the leadership they provided.
“They’ve brought them along, made them feel comfortable in being part of the club, so we’ve been fortunate that way,” he said.
Despite the achievements, the weather may give the medals a run for their money as most memorable part of the weekend, although for different reasons. Student athletes were forced to contend with steady rain, cold winds, and temperatures that dropped to as low as 8 C throughout the two-day event.
Prins said it wasn’t ideal conditions, but added he was proud of the athletes for buckling down and competing hard in the unpredictable Saskatchewan weather.
“It’s hard on their muscles and ligaments and tendons. There’s always that concern that something could go wrong, but I mean, you just go and do your best anyways and hopefully things work out,” he said. “It took a couple of days to thaw out. We actually told the kids the Thursday before (and) we made a list, bring socks, bring extra shoes, bring layers of clothing, bring a parka even and rain gear, so we hope we had them well prepared.”
St. Mary High School provincial track and field medalists
Midget Girls: Sabine Cazeau (Silver 100m, Silver 200m), Kiersten Kalmakoff (Bronze 80m Hurdles, Bronze Pole Vault)
Midget Boys: Seth LeMoal (Gold 400m, Silver 800m)
Senior Boys: Eric Brodacki (Silver Shot Put)