[Video]Six Red Hawk track athletes shine at East Regionals

The Track prevails and the Field? Next Year?

By Terrance Gavan

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Brigitta Hicks enjoying the practice time. Photo By Terrance Gavan

Thinning the herd?

Not the most flattering way to describe what happens to the Red Hawk track and field team this time of year.

But it’s probably the most accurate description of the arduous, sometimes painful, and perennially bittersweet progression from Kawartha, to COSSA, to Eastern Regionals and finally, to Holy Grail: The OFSAA Track and Field Meet.

Red Hawk runners Tom Paul, Sarah Comer, Sandy Griffith and Charlene, Ali and Brigitta Hicks all made it through the winnowing meat grinder.

Nice work.

They are headed to the largest track and field meet in North America.

In the shadows of some Canadian Olympians.

Which is kinda’ coolio when you think about it.

It is a large agglomeration of very talented track athletes.

And pretty heady stuff for this group of six athletes from Hal High.

The six runners headed to OFSAA this year attended a light practice out on the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School track last Monday.

They all performed to spec at last weekend’s East Regionals in Ottawa.

They’re all pretty excited about the wonderful opportunity.

Tom Paul, the brother of another Herculean hurdler, Drew, advanced in the midget distance hurdles.

Nice that older brother Drew who failed to quallie for OFSAA this year, was out there helping his kid brother with some technique on Monday afternoon.

“He’s fast, but he needs some work on his timing,” smiles Drew, who says it took him almost a full season to fully grasp the idea that hurdles is all about the steps and less about the speed.

Drew says he sees a lotta’ the young “Drew” in Tom. “I’m trying to get him to three-step in the sprint hurdles,” laughs Drew.

He’s asked how many Tom the Younger takes now.

A pause. A smile. A chuckle.

“Good question,” smiles Drew. “I’m not sure. It varies. But it’s not three.”

Tom, who broke one of his brother’s marks in the hurdles this season – and yes he doesn’t let him forget it – agrees with his bro’ on that assessment.

“I’m seeking help from the coaches and from Drew, but the timing… it’s not easy,” laughs Tom.

Drew and coach Brett Caputo says that the distance hurdles gives Tom more leeway for setting up. “The sprint hurdles?” says Caputo. “More technique than speed. But the longer placement of the distance hurdles allows him to use his speed… which, he has.”

Safe to say that both Tom and Drew have the Cheetah thing down pat. We don’t know if Tom, who is a great wrestler, will follow brother Drew’s hockey and football twinkle-toed template. But if he does?

Drew’s five combined OFSAA appearances might be in jeopardy.

Drew qualified for OFSAA track in grade nine and ten, and went to OFSAA Badminton with partner Jesse Schmidt this year.

Nice to see two brothers hanging out at the track exchanging brotherly braggadocio.

Just don’t ask ‘em who’s quicker.

And speaking of siblings.

Charlene, Brigitta and Ali Hicks all qualified for the OFSAAs in Sudbury after a stunning repertoire at the East Regionals.

Charlene Hicks, like Tom a midget runner, advanced in the midget triple jump and the sprint hurdles.

“I’m really excited that I’m going, but I’m happy that both my sisters are also going,” says Charlene.

Unlike the two brothers, the Hicks’s sisters – and we should all note here and now that although Ali and Brigitta are twins, they are not identical twins – seem inordinately complimentary and without an iota of sibling rivalry.

Anathema to a reporter. All this bonhomie and well-wishing. Ah well. The upside? We have three sisters who just may set a new bar for HHSS track for years to come.

Asked if she got her brag on after besting her sister Ali’s sprint hurdles record Charlene just smiled.

“Well, I was happy, but no, I didn’t mention it,” smiles Charlene.

Ali and Brigitta, who went to OFSAA last year as midgets have some advice for their young sister.

“We just told her that it’s going to be a lot of fun,” says Ali. “We told her to enjoy herself,” says Brigitta.

Sudbury? Fun?

Okay it may seem a little oxymoronic, but really it’s not.

Ali and Brigitta were both in Sudbury last summer competing in the field hockey provincials.

They allow that the track and field facility in Sudbury is state-of-the-art.

“It’s a nice venue,” says Brigitta.

Ali advances in Junior sprint hurdles and distance hurdles and the 4×100 relay. Brigitta advances in Junior sprint hurdles and 4×100 relay.

Sarah Comer and Sandy Griffith join the Hicks twins in the 4×100 relay.

Now, even though the Hicks’ twins have other events on their mind there is a consensus among the relay quadrangle that the goals for this upcoming OFSAA center around the 4×100.

It is after all the prestige event in the relays.

We need only hearken to the great relay teams – both men and women – that Canada has produced. Donovan, Bruni; and the two Angies.

Comer, Griffith, Ali and Brigitta were on the same page on Monday afternoon.

“We want to finish better than last year (12th in the 4×100 midget relay) and we would like to set a personal best,” smiles Sarah Comer.

The nods come fast from the remaining three girls.

Bruce Griffith – Sandy’s dad, staying with the familial theme – wanted to reach out to all 50 plus members of this year’s squad.

He says that the second place team finish in COSSA summed up a great year of Haliburton High track.

The Hawks really excelled last week at the East Regionals

“A great job by all Red Hawk track athletes,” says Griffith. “It poured rain for two straight days.”

Oh, and kudos should go to another Hal High athlete Connor Bird, who was ranked second heading into last week’s East Regionals after winning gold in the triple jump at Kawartha and COSSA.

“A special mention to Connor Bird,” says Bruce Griffith. “Connor was injured at Regionals and did not advance to OFSAA.”

Superb year for all the Hawk track athletes.

Twitter.com/terrancegavan and gav@countyvoice.ca.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]