Volume 12 Week 5

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Track and Field
Louis Riel foursome wins relay gold at provincial high school championships
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Jonathan Mufuta, Bedi Ndinsil, Nicolas Renaud and Benjamin Dufour recently won the gold medal in the midget boys 4x100 relay at the OFSAA provincial track and field championship in Oshawa. Photo supplied

Winning a medal at the OFSAA provincial high school championships is one of the most difficult achievements in high school sports. Winning a gold medal is harder still.

Heading into the midget boys 4x100 relay event at the recent OFSAA track and field championships in Oshawa, the Louis Riel midget boys team of Jonathan Mufuta, Benjamin Dufour, Bedi Ndinsil and Nick Renaud were seeded fifth having placed second at the East Region qualifying meet in Belleville.

Understandably their expectations were relatively low until they burned up the track in their openind heat in a time of 46.79 which was the second fastest overall time heading into the final.

Normally most successful relay teams have one or two individual medalists in their line-up. For instance, the last team from a local high school to win a relay gold at OFSAA was the Colonel By boys 4x100 relay team in 2008. That foursome was anchored by Segun Makinde who set a new Canadian interscholastic record in the 110-metre hurdles earlier that same meet.

The Louis Riel team all had mediocre results in their respective events. Only one of them even made an individual final, that being Dufour who placed 7th in the 300-metre hurdles. Mufuta and Ndinsil both placed 19th in their respective preliminary heats in the 100 and 400, and Renaud didn't even qualify for OFSAA in his specialty the 200 metres. Individually they had no business being on the track in the 4x100 final, collectively they ran the race of their lives.

Prior to the main event, the Louis Riel coaches told the boys to try and stay relaxed, espeically during the all-important exchanges.

Dufour got things going with a relatively fast opening 100. When he handed the baton off to Renaud they were in a virtual dead heat with two or three other teams. Renaud maintained their position during the second leg before passing the baton to Ndinsil raced around the bend like a hoop around a barrel to give the Rebelles a slight lead.

During the fourth and final exchange an extra careful Mufuta was nearly at a dead stop when he recieved the baton from his teammate, allowing the team from Michael Power/St. Joseph High School to briefly take the lead.

Perhaps in a state of panic, Mufuta managed to power past his opposite number in the first 15 metres and took it home in a time of 45.20 seconds, more than a second and half better than the time they set in the heats.

It was one of those magical moments when everything comes together and the result is pure perfection or darn close to it. For Mufuta, Dufour, Ndinsil and Renaud winning the gold medal in the relay is a dream come true.

"For sure all four boys did exactly what they needed. Ben had an awesome start. Nick held our spot throught the second leg. When Bedi ran the third leg, I knew for sure we would finish on the podium, but then Jonathan slowed up to take the exchange which had me a little worried, but then he just exploded down the stretch and brought it home for us. It was an incredible run," said their coach Sebastien Lalonde.

Both Ndinsil and Mufuta used their 19th place finishes in their respective individual races to fuel their performances in the final.

"I didn't really get my chance in the 400, and I knew we had a shot in the relay. For sure, I didn't want to go home empty-handed," said Ndinsil.

Since he only got to run the relay at OFSAA, Renaud spent much of his time between the heat and the final pumping up his teammates.

"I just wanted to get everyone as hyped as possible so we could go all out," said Renaud.

For his part, Mufuta only had one thing on his mind -- get the baton cleanly and run like hell.

"I wasn't really nervous at all I was just chilling and then when I got the baton from Bedi it was go time," said Mufuta.

The man who got the team of on the right foot was Dufour who was able to watch the entire race unfold in front of him after the first exchange with Renaud.

"It was amazing. As soon as Bedi gave the baton to Jon I knew we were going to win the gold," said Dufour. "Our goal was to try and get on the podium and realistically we thought we had a chance at bronze, but to win gold... wow."

The relay gold was the lone medal won by area athletes competing in Oshawa. While a number of them managed to achieve personal bests in their respective events, for most the provincial championhips ended in disappointment.

Besides Dufour, only one other east end athlete managed to qualify for an individual final. Alexia Lamothe from Cairine Wilson finished 7th in the senior girls 100-metre hurdles after failing to make the final in the 400-metre hurdles which is usually her stronger event.

Outside Dufour and Lamothe, only one other east end athlete managed to finish in the top 10. That being Isabelle Larocque from Samuel Genest who placed 10th in the junior girls javelin.

A complete listing of all the east end athletes who competed at the OFSAA provincial championships can be seen below...

Midget Boys
100-metres 19th (11.77) Jonathan Mufuta, Louis Riel
400-metres 19th (55.31) Bedi Ndinsil, Louis Riel
300-metre hurdles 7th (43.32) Benjamin Dufour, Louis Riel
Long Jump 22nd (4.89m) Oliver Ng, Colonel By
4x100 Relay 1st (45.25) Jonathan Mufuta, Nicholas Renaud, Bedi Ndinsil and Benjamin Dufour, Louis Riel
4x100 Relay 18th (48.20) Muyiwa Womiloju, Brent Zhang, Matthew Tung and Jay Weng, Colonel By

Junior Boys
Triple Jump 19th (11.68m) Jibrel Jama, Louis Riel
Javelin 14th (43.37m) Dylan Jesso, Cairine Wilson
Pole Vault 23rd (NH) Dominique Leduc, Louis Riel
4x100 Relay 14th (48.04) Joel Roy-Couvillon, Jibrel Jama, Pierre-Andre K-Mwaka and Jonathan Mukishi, Louis Riel

Junior Girls
100-metres 15th (12.69) Regina Rimadji, Louis Riel
200-metres 13th (26.18) Regina Rimadji, Louis Riel
800-metres 21st (2:33.52) Sydney Smith, Colonel By
Javelin 10th (29.89m) Isabelle Larocque, Samuel Genest

Senior Boys
3000-metres 12th (8:43.80) Adam Richardson, Colonel By
Javelin 19th (40.37) Josh Rector, Colonel By
4x100 Relay 10th (44.49) Marc Bitar, Jeff Graham, Trevor Melcher and Liam Moore, Colonel By

Senior Girls
400-metres 15th (1:00.03) Marie-Ève Dahms, Beatrice-Desloges
400-metres 17th (1:00.68) Annie Dai, Colonel By
100-metre hurdles 7th (14.45) Alexia Lamothe, Cairine Wilson
400-metre hurdles 11th (1:04.78) Alexia Lamothe, Cairine Wilson
Pole Vault 18th (2.40m) Kori Sirrs, Colonel By
Open 1500 metre Steeplechase 10th (5:19.83) Maggie Scheunert, Garneau
4x400 Relay 10th (4:02.74) Alannah McBride, Esther Raji, Sydney Smith and Annie Dai, Colonel By

(Posted 11:30 a.m., June 12)


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