Best of the best

Katie Brickman
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Moose Jaw hosts track and field provincials this weekend

The best track and field athletes will be competing here this weekend.

Peacock's Courtney Hunter hands the baton off to teammate Cortni Dixon during the senior girls 4x100 metre relay at the Moose Jaw section track and field meet last week at Gutheridge Field. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

Over 1,000 athletes from 14 different districts will take over Gutheridge Field on Friday and Saturday.

“This is going to be a busy, but exciting weekend,” said Renee Verge, track coach for Peacock.

This is the fourth time in five years that Moose Jaw has hosted the Saskatchewan High School Athletic Association provincial championship and also in back-to-back years.

“That in and of itself is a huge accomplishment,” said Verge on hosting two straight years. “It is a matter of the rest of the province struggling with dates and facilities. So, for Moose Jaw to take this on again, it is a lot of work, but well worth the effort.”

Verge stated that for many of these athletes, it is an exciting weekend, but the focus and message remains the same from all the coaches.

“I think every school and coach will probably tell their kids the same thing — set a realistic personal goal and strive for a personal best,” said Verge. “Wherever that puts you, you should be happy with that.”

With the event being held at Gutheridge Field, that may help alleviate some of the nerves the athletes might be feeling, as they get to sleep in their own beds and knowing the surface could be used to their advantage as well.

“Just like any basketball or volleyball team, there is a bit of home court advantage. It is a home track advantage,” said Verge. “It is (about) keeping them grounded and getting them mentally prepared. This will be the highest level of competition they have competed against all year.”

Although many of these athletes have faced some very steep competition thus far this track season, it is about to get a lot harder.

“This is the time that they are going to come up against year-round track athletes. The majority of those year-round track athletes will come from Saskatoon and Regina, but there will be some exceptions,” said Verge. “There will be some stellar athletes from smaller communities. This is going to be a step up, but I think our kids are very capable of competing at that level.”

The South Central district had their meet last week and has been practising this week as they try and fine-tune for their events. The district will have over 150 athletes participating this weekend.

“I think South Central will absolutely come up with some medals,” said Verge. “It comes from a kid that has been working really hard all year and peaking at the right time.”

The action begins Friday at 9 a.m. and runs until 9 p.m. More action continues on Saturday at 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students.

“Come out and support, not only, the South Central athletes, but also the sport of track and field,” said Verge.

Follow Katie on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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