Runners round the bend at the beginning of an 800-metre race. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Whitehorse’s F.H. Collins plays host to high school track and field meet

‘A little bit blustery, but everyone had a lot of fun’

Whitehorse’s high school track and field athletes gathered at F.H. Collins Secondary School in Riverdale for a track and field meet on May 29.

Led by a 70-person contingent from the host school, athletes competed in high jump, long jump, discus, javelin, shot put and a number of sprint and middle-distance races.

Peter Grundmanis, executive director for the Yukon Schools Athletic Association, said the meet went well.

“It was a good day,” said Grundmanis. “A little bit blustery, but everyone had a lot of fun. I’m grateful for the students that came from all of the schools.”

Although open to all high schools, the vast majority came from F.H. Collins largely due to proximity and timing.

“The track is outside their back door,” said Grundmanis. “They can go out and practice the events and get geared up knowing it is coming.”

Students at Vanier Catholic Secondary School and Porter Creek Secondary School don’t have that same access to facilities or the constant reminder of the event.

“They don’t have the same facilities to be able to not just train on, but to get excited about participating in the track meet,” said Grundmanis.

While that is a yearly cause for numbers discrepancies between the school, an early end to the school year and a late thaw made scheduling a particular issue this year.

“We typically hold the track meet as soon as we can in the spring,” said Grundmanis. “This year, the end of the school year was very close to the track meet.”

With just over a week between the meet date and the end of the school year, it was hard to justify missing classes or exam prep for the meet for a lot of students and coaches.

Knowing numbers would be low, Grundmanis said a big reason for going ahead was to keep up interest and momentum.

“The [YSAA] wants to keep promoting athletics with the introduction of a brand-new facility coming down the pipe,” said Grundmanis. “We have to keep going because, as with any event, if you cancel it one year, it’s really easy to cancel it the second year and it just dies on the vine.”

This year’s event may have had a perfect storm of factors working against it, but Grundmanis seemed unfazed, almost philosophical.

“It’s not unfortunate — because it’s not that kind of an issue — but that’s the way the timing between the track meet and the school year worked out this year.”

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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