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Medal haul for Oudenaarden

It was the Niki Oudenaarden show at the Alberta Schools' Athletic Association track and field championships.

It was the Niki Oudenaarden show at the Alberta Schools' Athletic Association track and field championships.

Last weekend in Medicine Hat the Grade 10 dynamo was pure gold for the Paul Kane Blues in the junior girls' long jump, javelin and shot put and was the silver medallist in the 200 metres.

"I was really hoping to medal in all of my events but I wasn't expecting it," Oudenaarden said. "It was a great experience to go out there and just have so much fun and meet so many new people and still do really well."

Oudenaarden, 16, also shattered the high school provincial long jump record. She dominated the field with a mighty leap of 5.75 metres. In second place was Sage Watson of Medicine Hat at 5.20m.

"It was really fun to break a record like that at a school track meet. It hadn't been broken for I think 30 years," said Oudenaarden, who stretched the tape for a personal best jump of 6.10m during the recent indoor season.

In April the Edmonton Olympic Track and Field Club member established a U17 Athletics Alberta outdoor record in California with a distance of 5.90m. The old mark of 5.86 was set in 1981. It's one of eight provincial records, dating back to June of 2008 she established in a variety of age divisions in shot put (three), javelin (one), discus (one) and heptathlon (two).

"Whenever you break a record it makes you feel very happy about the accomplishment."

Her second-place time of 25.41 in the 200m was another proud moment for the two-time Team Alberta competitor at the Legion Canadian Youth Athletics Championships. Sage won the event at 25.33.

"I managed to get a pretty good run in there. It was a tight race towards the finish so it was really fun," Oudenaarden said. "It's a very technical run. People just think you run in a big, old circle but you have to know how to run it properly and in that race I think I did a pretty good at it."

Oudenaarden added to her gold medal count by chucking the javelin 37.16m and the shot put 10.46m. Cierra Matsalla of McCoy High School was the runner-up in javelin at 33.53m and Sylvie Rokosh of Western Canada High School was second best in shot put at 10.28m.

"All my training seems to have paid off that weekend," Oudenaarden said. "It gives you confidence to continue on in track because you know your training is helping you."

Oudenaarden qualified for provincials with first place showings in the 200m (26.15), long jump (5.60m), shot put (10.21m) and javelin (34.98m) at the Edmonton zone high school track and field finals during a May 29 downpour at Rollie Miles Athletic Park.

"I was only allowed to do four events. If I was allowed to do more I would have because it's so much fun. I just love it all," said the five-foot-10 power with Paul Kane's varsity women's volleyball team, the seventh-place finishers at the 2009 4A provincial championship.

High school provincials were the latest in a number of major meets for the budding track star.

"Most of the people who came to provincials are track and field athletes, so it's like a regular meet," she said. "It was like a warm up for the season, just to get all your things straight. You always see everybody again, which is so much fun."

Oudenaarden is going to Toronto this weekend to compete in the senior division of the heptathlon, a gruelling event that includes the 200m, high jump, 800m, 100m hurdles, long jump, shot put and javelin.

"I'm trying to get 5,000 points, which would be amazing. I'm usually around 4,900 or 4,800," said Oudenaarden, who set a U18 provincial heptathlon record in the heptathlon in May with 4,923 points, five short of the current Canadian standard.

PK medallists

Oudenaarden wasn't the only Paul Kane athlete to rewrite the provincial record book. In the intermediate girls' 800m, Rachel Francois' winning time was 2:12.89, narrowly eclipsing the previous mark of 2:12.90.

The Grade 11 student also took home silver in the 400m at 57.68. In first place was Nicole Bauer of Lord Beaverbrook High School at 56.89.

At zones Francois was first in the 800m (2:27.08) and second in the 400m (1:00.71).

Garrett King was also a double medallist with first-place finishes in the intermediate boys' 400m at 50.74 and the 100m hurdles at 13.53.

At zones the Grade 11 standout placed first in both the 400m (51.93) and 100m hurdles (13.96).

King also trains with Oudenaarden with the Olympic track club while Francois sharpens her skills with the Edmonton Harriers Track and Field Club.

Additional results of St. Albert athletes at provincials will be published in the Saturday edition of the Gazette.

Jeff Hansen

About the Author: Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.
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