Valley Royals juniors win big in Kelowna

Record medal haul for junior development athletes

Valley Royals junior athletes excelled at the Provincial Junior Development Track and Field Championships for eight- to 13-year-olds over the weekend.

The Royals squad brought home 11 gold, nine silver and four bronze medals along with numerous other top-eight performances at the Kelowna event.

Mark Molina dominated the 12-year-old category in the sprints, capturing gold in the 100 metre, 200m and 300m races. He also claimed the silver in long jump, discus and medley relay.

Rookie Alexia Smith won gold in the 100m, 600m and 1000m races in the nine-year-old girls category. This was a follow-up to another gold in the medley relay and her silver medals in the 60m and girls 4X100m relay.

One of the more memorable performances from the event was Benjamin Wright in the 12-year-old boys long jump.

A head shorter that most of his competitors, and struggling to control his speed under some blustery conditions, Wright faulted on his first two attempts, stepping just over the board. For his third and final attempt, his coach adjusted the starting point of his run-up and told him to go for broke.

He then cranked off a remarkable leap of 5.33m, a distance not normally achieved by boys until they’re 14 or 15. His jump was a personal best of nearly half a metre and easily won him the gold.

“In over 30 years in the sport, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a more clutch performance under pressure,” said Royals coach Trevor Wright.

Unfortunately, a nagging injury flared up after the competition that prevented Wright from competing further in the sprints, where he was a medal contender.

The following athletes earned medals at the event:

– Jesse Booth: silver in nine-year-old boys 4x100m relay and bronze in 60m hurdles

– Charlie Franson: silver in boys 4x100m relay and bronze in nine-year-old discus

– Sierra Greene: silvers in girls medley relay and 4x100m relay

– Teeaurah Greene: silvers in girls medley relay and 4x100m relay

– Bhavneet Grewal: gold in girls medley relay and bronze in nine-year-old girls high jump

– Dulce Mia Gunning: silver in girls 4x100m relay

– Dhea Kondolay: golds in nine-year-old girls high jump and shot put and silvers in nine-year-old 60m hurdles and medley relay

– Erik Levings: silver in boys medley relay

– Noah Molina: silver in boys medley relay and bronze in 13-year-old boys pole vault

– Gurpartap Sandhu: golds in 10-year-old girls javelin and medley relay, silver in 4×100 relay and bronze in long jump

– Sarah Thiel: silvers in girls medley relay and 4x100m relay

– Emily Tinsley: gold in girls medley relay and silver in 4x100m relay

– Luke Wight: silvers in boys medley relay and 4x100m relay

The Kelowna meet wrapped up the Royals track season until cross country in the fall.

Cross country junior development practices for athletes aged eight to 13 will occur in September and October on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings in Clearbrook Park.

For more information on the fall season, visit valleyroyals.ca.

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