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Airdrie athletes compete at Legions

Four young track stars from Airdrie held their own against Canada’s best at the 2019 National Youth Track and Field Championships in Cape Breton, N.S., Aug. 9 to 11. Known as “Legions,” the national meet pits the top Canadian high-school-aged athletes against each other.

One of Airdrie’s most successful performers was Airdrie Aces throws athlete Jinaye Shomachuck, who won the U18 women’s discus event and narrowly missed out on the podium in the shot put with a fourth-place finish.

According to Aces throws coach Rachel Andres, Shomachuk’s weekend was a mixed bag. While the 15-year-old took home the gold in the discus and set a personal best (PB) in the shot put, Andres said the Bert Church High School student under-performed in her best event – the hammer throw, for which she holds the number-two ranking among U18 women in Canada.

“She was really happy about discus and shot put, but it was just hammer that really got her,” Andres said. “She did not throw that poorly all year.”

According to Andres, the ring – the concrete circle that athletes throw from – was much stickier in Cape Breton than the one Shomachuck is used to. Struggling to adapt her footing, five of Shomachuck’s six throws went out of bounds. 

Her only non-foul throw went 46.05 metres (m), putting her in seventh place.

“It kind of got into her head and changed her form up, so that meant she was throwing out of bounds and caging,” Andres said.

Despite the poor showing, Andres said Shomachuck is still demonstrating Olympic potential in the event. With two more years of high school left, she said, Shomachuck has plenty of opportunities to make a name for herself.

“Next year is when the NCAA Division 1 and 2 schools can start recruiting her,” Andres said. “This year has been a really good base-building year to get her set up for next year.”

Another of Airdrie’s top performers was Sienna MacDonald, who took home the silver medal in the U18 women’s heptathlon. MacDonald – who will enter her senior year at George McDougall High School this fall – competed for Team Alberta in the seven-discipline event.

The 16-year-old dominated the field in the shot put and javelin, taking first in those events, while finishing second in the 100-m hurdles and 200-m sprint, and third in the 800-m.

MacDonald, who took up club track with the Calgary Warriors just a year-and-a-half ago, ended the meet with 4,895 points – an agonizing two points behind gold-medallist Isabella Goudros, of Ontario.

MacDonald’s younger sister Kiera also competed at nationals, finishing ninth in the U16 women’s pentathlon.

Another local athlete who put it all on the line was Aces middle-distance runner Aiden Good, who ran to a 10th-place finish in the U18 men’s 800-m event.

Good finished the two-lap race just a few seconds shy of his PB, crossing the finish line at 1:58.95.

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