Wildcats runner wins with a splash

There’s something about track and field that gets Burnaby Central’s Ryan Goudron going.

As competitive as his running events are, it’s truly him against the clock. Finishing ahead of the other runners is just part of the program.

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The 16-year-old runner beat both the clock and a slew of opponents at last week’s B.C. High School track and field championships in Kelowna, collecting a pair of gold and twin silver as part of a strong Wildcats performance.

By winning the junior boys 1500-metre steeplechase, Goudron was able to leap past some rivals who in the past had posted quicker times.

“I went in hoping to win but I knew there were faster guys in the race, who had raced quicker races,” said Goudron, referring to Earl Marriott’s Micah Logie and Walnut Grove’s Jack Hardy.

Even though he had finished ahead of Hardy in previous events elsewhere, he wasn’t taking anything for granted in the first-day event.

“I started on the outside so I had to merge right into the group and felt a little boxed in at first,” he recalled. “At about the 500m-mark it was down to just me and (Logie).”

He’d win the race by eight seconds with a time of 4:32.51. A big part of that time was in his work on the steeplechase, which tends to be where a lot of runners hit a wall -- or the water hard.

“In the water, Ryan’s form was spectacular, as he landed in the water with only one foot … and maintained his forward momentum. He never got his right foot wet at all,” Burnaby Central coach Randy Kamiya said. “That’s not as important as the fact that he never lost momentum and his aggressive running strategy helped win the race.”

He’d go on to pick up silver in both the 400m and 800m events, again finishing with personal best times (51.06, and 1:59.22).

“I ran a pretty weak first half (in the 800m) but made up so much ground down the stretch,” said Goudron.

As to the 400m, it was a chance to see how much progress he's made in his first year with that event on his schedule.

"I feel the reason (coach Kamiya) put me in it was because it's a more competitive race. ... Definitely I can improve on, because having trained a lot for the 3000m I had done no start work in the blocks and I think with more practice I can get out quicker."

On the final day, Goudron again set the pace, this time as the anchor of the Wildcats’ junior boys 4x400m relay team. The quartet, which included Sebastyan Szymanski, Marcus Taylor and Gerard Natavio, overcame a deficit on the final leg – Goudron’s portion – where he trailed by 15m but just past the midpoint he closed the gap and then pulled away, winning by almost 10m.

The time, 3:32.29, one second faster than their main opponent, was a team personal best.

Racing in provincials has always been a big thing for Goudron, who as a Grade 8 finished third in both the 1500m and 3000m but is now gearing towards mid-distance events.

Right now, he is enjoying the 800m distance.

“It’s really a fast race but there’s still so much chance for change,” he noted. “You can have a slow start but make up for it.”

He began the month by placing fifth in the octathlon at the provincial multi-event championships in South Surrey, including topping both the 1000m (in 2:47.77) and the 400m (in 51.81, which he'd better a week later).

A member of the Royal City Track and Field Club, Goudron has already taken his track shows to some heady meets – last year at the Legion Youth club championships in Brandon, Man., and this past week to Portland, Ore., where he won the 2000m steeplechase against a crowd of American high schoolers.

The attraction to track is the feeling of control, that the race is an athlete against his own goals.

“You just have to go for the gun, there’s no time to rest,” said Goudron. “It’s one of the rawest sports you have, it’s physical ability and mental ability, but it’s you racing the clock to see who’s best.”

The other major medal winners for Burnaby schools were also in the junior circuit, as Burnaby Mountain’s Kiran Wanniarachchi finished second in the high jump, clearing 1.85m, while teammate Brandon Hsu posted the third-best time in the 400m. On the girls side, Burnaby South’s Taya Batiste picked up silver in the junior girls’ 100m dash with a time of 12.35 seconds, behind only Emma Cannan of Kelowna’s 12.28 finish.

Burnaby Mountain’s Isabella Brunoro completed the junior girls 1500m steeplechase with a florish, finishing second with a time of 5:10.64, trailing fellow Royal City club member and St. Thomas More runner Kate Stewart Barnet. Brunoro also scooped up silver in the 3000m event, posting a 10:35.20 time, just seven-tenths of a second out of first.

Here are more Burnaby results: GIRLS, senior – Maneesha Dhaliwal, BC 12th HJ; Christina Heslop, BC 20th 1500st; Zuzanna Liniewski, BN 8th HT. Junior – Taya Batiste, BS 2nd 100, 4th 200; Isabella Brunoro, BMtn 2nd 1500st, 3000; Priya Dhaliwal, BC 8th LJ, 11th HJ; Elisa Geitner, BMtn 20th 1500rw; Kaitlyn Heslop, BC 18th 1500st; Teodora Lojpur, BMtn 4th jav; Alysha Sidhu, BC 20th HT. Gr. 8 – Lindsay Goudron, BC 8th SP, 19th jav; Robin Rohu, BC 4th 200h. BOYS, senior – Pietro Carnivale, ALP 20th SP; Constantine Georgas, ALP 8th 100; Thomas Luong, BMtn 8th jav. Junior – Holden Clark, MOS 4th TJ, 18th LJ; Liam Farbridge, MOS 18th jav; Aaron Fung, MOS 19th 1500rw; Ryan Goudron, BC 1st 1500st, 2nd 400, 800; Lucas Herold, BS 7th SP, 10th HT, 11th disc; Brandon Hsu, BMtn 3rd 400, 7th 200; Haruki Okamoto, BMtn 19th 3000; Henry Ruckman-Utting, ALP 4th 1500st, 10th 3000; Kiran Wanniarachchi, BMtn 2nd HJ.

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