September 27th, 2016

Wednesday’s High School Notebook column: Track and field provincials a true spectacle


By Lethbridge Herald on May 13, 2015.

By Dave Wells
Track and field is undoubtedly one of the purest sports on Earth. After all, it’s simply known as “athletics” in Olympic parlance.
The local school season is underway. This year the grand finale is the Alberta Schools Athletic Association High School Provincial Track and Field Championships, in Lethbridge June 5-6 at the commodious University of Lethbridge Community Sports Stadium. Perhaps as many as 1,500 athletes will test their mettle.
 I’m likely to keep driving home that truly Big Show here. I would regardless, but I’ve taken on a public relations leadership role with the event, adding personal stakes.
School track meets are held all over the area. If you ever want to feel a positive vibe about life, I suggest stopping by younger events.
I know Medicine Hat has a strong modern venue, too, but this season the hub of region school track and field is the U of L. All told, facility overseer Deb Marek informs me there are nine meets at the expansive, multi-ring (figuratively and literally in terms of some throws) westside showplace.
These throwdowns include school, city and zone extravaganzas. The South Zone High School Championships on May 26 will serve as a dress rehearsal of sorts for provincials. Zones generally alternate between Lethbridge and the Gas City. There’s a similar rotation when the South Zone gets to host provincials. So, this will be the first ASAA grand finale held at the current U of L site. Glory be, especially compared to the previous U of L track which was supremely substandard for such a prestigious outing.
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Rugby, baseball and slo-pitch league play is ongoing weeknights. I’m not aware of any all-high school invitational tournaments this weekend, which makes sense since it’s a holiday three-day affair.
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The University of Lethbridge Community Stadium plays host to numerous high school sports annually. Deb pointed out the South Zone Rugby Championships are once again slated for the U of L faux turf on June 1.
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Another high school sport that is commonly played at U of L is football. I see Raymond Grade 11 receiver Dillon Roberts was recently named to U-18 Team Alberta which will participate in the 2015 Football Canada Cup, July 12-20 in Montreal. The tryout process included regional open evaluation camps, followed by a 180-contingent main selection camp at McMahon Stadium. There are 40 performers on the final roster.  
Lethbridge hosted the 2011 Football Canada Cup at U of L and profits from that venture have provided grants to any Southern Alberta High School Football League product representing Wild Rose Country in subsequent tourneys.
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I see the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets are hosting their Haven Agencies Invitational Tournament on the long weekend. The Jets are an elite travelling program that draws players from five provinces on the 22-man roster. Heck, there’s even a kid who hails from Bermuda! All attend Vauxhall High School.
As for locals, Lethbridge’s Bryce Oriold Fraser is on the squad.      
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I understand organizational force of nature Duane Konynenbelt is stepping away from his Immanuel Christian teaching gig this summer. He’s the chair of the ASAA Provincial Track and Field Championships June 5-6 at U of L (see how I’ve cleverly slipped the event in this space again) before that departure.
Fortunately, I understand even though he won’t be teaching in the classroom setting, Konynenbelt will return next campaign to continue to head up the 1A/2A South Zone Volleyball and Basketball Championships in (respectively) November and March. Wow!  
WELLSIE’S WORLD — I was very happy to see the Prairie Baseball Academy captured their fifth consecutive Canadian College Baseball Conference title this past weekend. The program, utilizing full-time Lethbridge College and University of Lethbridge students on the diamond, was very well conceptualized and has been realized crisply over the past two decades. Head coach Todd Hubka, a former standout athlete at Claresholm Willow Creek (class of 1988 I see; time marches on), is certainly one of the most amiable chaps I’ve ever been fortunate enough to encounter.

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