At 18 members strong, the Roadrunners track and field team is hitting new strides.
It might be a smaller team compared to Mount Douglas and Oak Bay, but with three Grade 11 athletes striving for the World Youth Championships in Columbia come July, Reynolds is on the front foot.
Taylor Lyman, Brendan Hoff and Lauren D’Agnolo are among the medal favourites at this weekend’s B.C. High School Track and Field Championships in Langley, June 4 to 6.
“We have athletes performing at national and international levels, they have elite coaching, we’re blessed to have them on our team,” said school coach Brad Cunningham.
Lyman leads the way as the man to beat in the 800-metre. He surprised many, including himself, when he broke Olympian Zack Whitmarsh’s (Oak Bay High) 1995 Island record of 1:53:80 at the Island championships with a time of 1:51:73. It also set the B.C. under-18 record.
Lyman still talks about his Island championship 800m race, and the seven seconds he knocked off his personal best, with a tone of disbelief. He credits his coach, Bruce Deacon, for laying out a great training plan.
“It just worked. (Deacon) has a good understanding of how my body reacts to the training,” Lyman said. “I’m excited to see what I can do now.”
There are other medal threats on the team. Grade 11 Kelsey Carrothers is a favourite to medal in the shot-put. Grade 9 Nicole D’Agnolo, Lauren’s younger sister, is seeded in a medal position amongst juniors (Grade 10) in the 80m hurdles.
“Mostly I just get them together and organize the meets, these kids are committed and coached at a level well beyond my capacity,” Cunningham said.
Lauren D’Agnolo has her sights set on the 200m and 400m, having finished first in the latter and third in the former at the Island championships. She finished fifth in the 100m sprint and qualified in that event for provincials but will pass it up to focus on the others.
“It’s still early for my 200m times, I ran a sub-26, which is nice, because it means I’m getting closer to my times from last year,” Lauren said. “I want to peak later, for the national and world championships.”
Like Lauren, Hoff also won the Island championships knowing he has room to improve. The Saanich transplant, who was a double-gold medalist for Carihi at the B.C. junior level last year, won the 1,500m and 3,000m Island championships.
“I was a little disappointed, both were pretty slow times for me, but I followed up by beating my 1,500 PB by seven seconds at a twilight meet in Surrey on Saturday (May 30), so I’m happy about that, happy with the progress.”
Hoff’s 1,500m time in Surrey was 3:54.66, about three seconds out of the top-10 in the world for his age category, and the second fastest time in Canada right now. Hoff attends the Canadian Sports School and chose Reynolds over other schools for the Flex program, which is headed by Cunningham.
“Taylor may have influenced me to come here,” Hoff admitted.
Hoff and Taylor will likely compete with Reynolds’ 4X400m team and Taylor with the 4x100m team, if they compete at provincials.