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SHHS adds to medal count at East Centrals

Some of their results may have been a surprise but there were a few results that definitely were no surprise when the East Central Districts of track and field came and went last week.
Sacred Heart's Emily Kruger, middle, and teammate Raquel Hackman, make their way around the track during the track meet last week.

Some of their results may have been a surprise but there were a few results that definitely were no surprise when the East Central Districts of track and field came and went last week.

Among the expected strongest finishers at Sacred Heart was Preston Liebrecht, Emily Kruger, Kylie Chupa, Brooke Mentanko and Olivia Blenner-Hassett.

Each finished the two-day event with at least three medals each.

Rachel Sterzuk, co-coach of the Sacred Heart Saints track club, said she was very impressed by the medals won by the students and added that the numbers she had qualify for the upcoming provincials were even better than last year when a pair of then-Gr. 12 girls combined for seven medals.

"Twenty Sacred Heart High School (SHHS) track and field athletes have qualified for provincials on May 26-27 at the East Central Districts. This is the most that we have ever had qualify in recent memory," Sterzuk explained in a detailed e-mail to the newspaper.

The students listed above, as well as another 15, now advance to the provincials which are scheduled for June 4-5 in Moose Jaw.

Sterzuk said that expectations were particularly high high for Liebrecht who now has two strong years in a row at districts. Now he has the task ahead of him of trying to achieve similar results at provincials in Moose Jaw.

"Leading the way with four gold medals and records in the 100-meter and 200-metre races was (Preston) Liebrecht. Chupa also had four first-place finishes and both won the Aggregate award."

Everyone involved in the districts track meet knew that it was important for them to do well with it, especially since many of them have been training over the winter months with Tom Cursons of the Yorkton Legion.

"It's one shot," explains second-year runner Liebrecht, who's had another outstanding outing at the districts meet. "If you don't do well, you're done." His medal count from last week's meet included: gold in long jump; gold in high jump; gold in the 100-metre (time of 11:25 East Central District record); and gold in the 200-metre (time of 22.75 East Central District track record) and also won the Junior Boys Aggregate award.

He told the paper he's a little nervous about the upcoming provincial meet and is hoping some of his winning ways will eventually carry over.

"I am quite surprised that I did that good (but) I trained all year so I had some expectations."Liebrecht is one of the runners at SHHS that already has a year of experience under their belts from last year's provincials. He is obviously hoping for some luck in that regard.

"I'm still nervous but it's not as nerve-wracking. From last year, I know what to expect. I expect it's going to be harder than this."

Last year, he said he learned to use starting blocks and that has him thinking he will achieve higher results this time around.

Despite all the winnings, he is a little uptight about his chances for equalling that success what he says is the "bigger and more intense of the two meets (provincials)."

"It's harder to focus," he says. "It's more stressful too. But I'm really pleased with my ECD (East Central Districts) results."

Liebrecht is one of a huge number of locals that shone like the sun at districts. Even though there was no sun, there were several that performed like the weather was perfect.

"It was a huge surprise that I did that good."

He was also one of a good number of track runners that trained all year around, so he wasn't going into it unprepared.

Other winners, listed by name, finish and event are listed below:Kylie Chupa: gold, pole vault; gold, 100-metre; gold, hurdles; gold 200-metres and Senior Girls Aggregate Award winner. Brooke Mentanko: gold, 1500-metre; gold, 300-metre; gold, 800-metre. Emily Kruger: gold, 400-metre, silver, pole vault; silver, 1500-metre; silver 800-metre. Olivia Blenner-Hassett: silver (3), 400-metre, 800-metre, 200-metre. Alex Appel: gold in pole vault, high jump and silver in triple jump. Skylar German: gold in high jump, silver in 100-metre.

Kyle Rusnak: silver in the 100-metre and 200-metre. Bailey Inglis: silver in javelin, gold in shot put; Bryce Wilson: silver in hurdles and pole vault. Tierney Howe: gold in shot put, silver in discus; Jenna Sahulka: gold in hurdles, silver in long jump; Brock Liebrecht: gold in long jump; Morgan Girouz: silver in long jump; Anthony Fetsch: gold in pole vault; Colin Shewchuk: silver in pole vault; Sara Kruger: silver in pole vault. Shannon Rehaluk: silver in shot put; Raquel Hackman: silver in hurdles; Jeremy Johnson: gold in pole vault.

Kruger, who came out of districts with four medals (one gold and three silvers) didn't seemed too surprised at her results even though she said she suffered an injury this year. As a result, she was held back from training at her maximum for the two weeks leading up to the ECDs. "Last year was more successful," she recalls but added that she is looking forward to going to "the bigger meet" when she, Liebrecht and 18 of her schoolmates will be representing the Saints in Moose Jaw on the weekend.

"I just try to do my best."

Mentanko completed districts with three gold medals, one in the 800-metre, 1500-metre and 3000-metre sprints. She was happy with the results and was hoping for similar."I was training all winter so I was hoping to do well."

She added that the night before the districts, she had a fever of 102 degrees and things were not looking good for her.

"It was pretty stressful," she told the paper, adding that she prefers running in the colder weather better. Despite not being 100 per cent healthy, it was still good to finish high at the first real meet of the year, she said.

"Yeah, it's our first meet of the year. But I am pretty nervous about (next week's) provincials," she said.

Mentanko will be returning for her second shot at provincials in as many years running track and hopes to be able to use her experience to her advantage.

"I was so nervous last year, but it actually went well. I just need to warm up and listen to music." She said she plans to compete in the 800-metre, 1500-metre and the 3000-metre relays.

It's her goal to "try to develop" as a runner, get her personal best and "finish with a top 8-10".