By Larry Moko
Vincent Irobun of St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School has been a pleasant surprise to an already strong Knights sprint team.
He was part of a 1-2-3 finish for More in the senior boys’ 200 metres during final-day action of the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference track and field championships Wednesday.
The GHAC meet brought together the top high school runners, jumpers and throwers from both the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic and Halton boards. The top five finishers in each event qualify for the OFSAA South Regionals, May 25-26, in St. Catharines. And that’s followed by the provincial high school championships in Belleville, June 1-3.
In addition to a third-place finish in the 200m behind his More teammates Ike Usifo and Marqus Rookwood (23.30, 23.71 and 23.72 seconds respectively), Irobun won the 100m event Tuesday in 11.44. He also was part of the senior boys’ 4x100m relay team which raced to victory in 44.22 seconds.
“They’ve been together since they were midgets,” More coach Herbert Stewart said of first-year seniors Usifo, Rookwood and Irobun. “This year we’ve actually had a surprise and Vincent has stepped up. He’s even-up with Marqus and Ike. Last year, he was maybe a step or two behind them.”
Irobun, Usifo, Rookwood and Israel Perrin combined last year at OFSAA to capture a silver medal in the 4x100m relay. They were just 3/100th of a second behind the gold-medal winning London South entry.
Each member of the Knights senior trio is in Grade 11 while, on the 4x100 relay team, they are joined by second-year senior, Andrew Glanville. A couple of the older alternates that More can call on also provide a stabilizing factor.
Said Stewart: “That experience is helping them adjust to the senior level. Our senior boys overall are looking good.”
According to Stewart, Irobun has improved this season because he joined the Hamilton Olympic Club for extra training.
“He’s surprised us … he’s surprised everybody,” Stewart said. “Before, he was just running on raw talent. I’ve talked to some of his coaches from the Olympic Club and they just think the sky is the limit for him. He’s starting to develop.”
While Irobun agrees that training with the Olympic Club has been beneficial, he points to one other factor for his added speed this year.
“The reason I’ve really improved is because of my teammates,” he said. “They encouraged me to give it my all. They’ve made me push harder.
“My goal is OFSAA. I’ll have to train even harder to do well.”
St. Thomas More also qualified a team in the 4x400m open boys’ relay Wednesday (3:44.20).
Other HWCAA winners from the various events on Day 2 were: Rachel Moulton, Brebeuf, MG 800m (2:37.79); Rachel Watson, St. Mary, MG 300m hurdles (49.20); Ann Koll-Andrikopoulos, St. Mary, MG triple jump (10.05m); Jayme Foreman, St. Mary, MG shot put (8.76m); Mackenzie Maludzinski, Bishop Ryan, MG discus (22.53m); Abbey Maillet, St. Mary, JG 3000m (11:37.79); Madison Shakeshaft, Brebeuf, JG 300m hurdles (47.56); Amy Simunic, Bishop Ryan, JG discus (30.72m); 4x100m SG relay, St. Mary (50.72); 4x400m OG relay, St. Mary (4:10.90); Darius Bell, More, MB shot put (12.80m); Aaron Shannon, Bishop Ryan, MB discus (33.94m); Tiago Brum, Bishop Tonnos, blind 100m (15.43); Alex Broekhuyse, More, SB 800m (1:59.37); 4x400m OB relay, More (3:44.20).
The following HWCAA athletes also cracked the top five in their events Wednesday:
Cathedral -- Olive Ude and Sherecia Bangura.
Tonnos -- 4x100m MB relay team and 4x400 OG relay team, Deanna Mataseje, Maddie Carrigan, Meagan Stager, Emily Bourque, Claire Notarandrea, Daniel Parchem and Matt Valaitis.
Bishop Ryan -- 4x100m MB relay team, Victoria Pancucci, Chelsea Lawson, Julianna Robertson, Mackenzie Maludzinski, Kristine Abboud, Alyssa Evans, Vishal Harricharran and Leo Hernandez.
Brebeuf -- 4x100m MB relay team and 4x100m SG relay team, Shelby Amponsah, Anna Rickard, Logan Garvey, Tyrese Greene, Daniel Graham, Ryan Collins and Zach Bramwell.
More -- 4x100m JB relay team, Ranya Belkhir, Julia Ciaglia, Peyton Connolly, Brandon Comegna, Quinton Bennett, Stephen Krebs and Spencer Kennedy.
St. Mary -- 4x100m MB relay team; Jayme Foreman, Nia Ebos, Tessa O’Brien, Marcus Rilling, Jacob Doma, Liam Donnelly, Connor Vandergeer.