SUMMERSIDE – The Three Oaks Axemen recently returned home from a trip of a lifetime.
The Axemen competed at the Nike High School Grand Prix track and field invitational meet in Toronto, Ont.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Brittan Turner, a Grade 12 student at the Summerside high school. “I don’t think I’ll ever get to do something like that again. They (organizers) treated us like pros.”
An 11-member team from Three Oaks, coached by Jim Donovan and Paul McGuire, were the P.E.I. boys’ representatives while Colonel Gray from Charlottetown was the P.E.I. girls’ representative.
“They (Axemen) enjoyed it thoroughly, and they worked their tails off,” said Donovan, who pointed out a lot of the participants from some of the other provinces focus solely on track and field training. “They were prepared for it, and everyone was competitive.”
Overall, 26 teams, including 13 girls and 13 boys, from each province and territory participated at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium.
“It was a great experience,” said Axemen team member Jesse MacFarlane. “You meet new friends, and they treated us like professionals”
“The locker-room experience,” answered Jordan Gallant, a 17-year-old Grade 11 student from Summerside. “Everyone had their own stall with your name above it, and there was Nike clothing all laid out in the stalls.”
Ryan Merrett and Matt Tanton, both of Summerside, each had top-10 performances for Three Oaks.
Merrett, a 16-year-old Grade 11 student, finished eighth out of 38 competitors in the 1,500-metre race while Tanton was ninth out of 24 competitors in the high jump.
“I ran a good race,” assessed Merrett, who had a time of 4:19.96. “It wasn’t a personal best, but it’s still early in the season. It was a good time.”
Turner posted personal-best times in his two events – 800- and 1,500-metre races.
“That is what I was hoping to do,” said Turner, 18.
Tanton, whose performance was impacted by rain, registered a score of 1.55 metres.
“I was hoping to get 1.70,” said Tanton, a 16-year-old Grade 10 student. “My personal best was 1.67, but that was in a gym.”
Tanton admitted the rain “throws your mind off completely. The mat’s drenched, and your wet and it’s just not much fun.”
MacFarlane, a Grade 11 student from North Carleton, injured his leg during the 100-metre race, and limped across the finish line.
“It was really disappointing because we trained quite a bit to get ready for the meet, and it was a letdown,” said MacFarlane, 17.
How They Finished
Three Oaks Axemen results at Nike Grand Prix:
200 metres – 26.25 seconds, 35th out of 43 competitors.
400 metres – 58.79 seconds, 25th out of 36 competitors.
200 metres – 27.02 seconds, 37th out of 43 competitors.
400 metres – 1:02.22, 30th out of 36 competitors.
1,500 metres – 4:54.89, 29th out of 38 competitors.
1,500 metres – 4:55.99, 30th out of 38 competitors.
200 metres – 25.47 seconds, 26th out of 43 competitors.
400 metres – 58.56 seconds, 18th out of 36 competitors.
400 metres – 1:00.39, 28th out of 36 competitors.
800 metres – 2:23.40, 28th out of 36 competitors.
Long jump – 5.05 metres, 22nd out of 38 competitors.
800 metres – 2:10.22, 18th out of 36 competitors.
1,500 metres – 4:19.96, eighth out of 38 competitors.
800 metres – 2:21.46, 27th out of 36 competitors.
1,500 metres – 4:51.78, 26th out of 38 competitors.
100 metres – 15.41 seconds, 39th out of 39 competitors. Note: MacFarlane was injured during the race and limped across the finish line.
High jump – 1.55 metres, ninth out of 24 competitors.
Long jump – 5.38 metres, 12th out of 38 competitors.
800 metres – 2:26.29, 31st out of 36 competitors.
Long jump – 3.90 metres, 37th out of 38 competitors.