Athletics Week in Review: June 3

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The high school sporting season came to a close May 31, with a series of provincial championships.

Track & Field

In the track and field provincial competition, which was held in perfect conditions over three days in Langley, SMUS competed in a total of nine individual and relay events. All seven athletes involved performed extremely well, with Saeed Shokoya opening proceedings with a bronze medal in the 100-metre sprint.

Shokoya – the defending champion – was part of a blanket finish for a podium position, as four runners crossed the line separated by .01 of a second!

Other highlights included 9th place in the Long Jump for Beta Willeboordse, a finish matched by Chrissy Robillard in the grueling 400-metre hurdles.

Then, in the 4 x 400 metre relay, Robillard, Willeboordse, Stephanie Wong-Harrison and Laura Woods combined to carve an astonishing 15 seconds off their personal best time to capture 7th place. All can take a bow for their efforts, especially Woods, who ran courageously despite a severe stomach ailment.

Other qualifiers were Kenny Shokoya and Jayne Leggatt, both of who will have the opportunity to return to the same meet in 2015.

You can see and download more pictures from the BC Track & Field Provincials in the SMUS photo gallery.

Badminton

In badminton, a young SMUS team found the going tough in its provincial finals, winning one of five matches en route to a 14th place overall finish.

As is always the case, many of the match-ups swung on a handful of key points. Unfortunately, the majority of these did not go in favour of the Blue Jags, with a 6-5 defeat to Kelly Road sending SMUS to the consolation side of the draw.

Congratulations to all the players, but in particular to Porames Ariyapatikul, Kyle Tang, Hank Wei, Chad Hou, Jessica Jiang, Jill Ding and Airlia Hie. Of note also was a tremendous contribution the entire term from Grade 8 student Sara Cui

Junior Boys Rugby

In a wildly exciting affair, the Juniors traveled to St. George’s for an exhibition game.

Both teams substituted liberally and scored some excellent team tries. In a game that left the respective defensive coordinators scratching their heads, SMUS led 45-26 with ten minutes to play. Lucas de Vries and Hari Ikonomou each recorded a brace of tries, with the latter adding five conversions. Yet, there was still time for the hosts to reorganize and strike back. A final tally, right on full time, brought the scores level at 45, with time for the extras to follow. From a handy position, St. George’s converted successfully to claim a two-point win.

Senior Boys Rugby

The 1st XV journeyed to Abbotsford for the final three rounds of the BC AA tournament and, for a third straight year, suffered provincial heartbreak.

Things started well enough in the quarterfinal round, as the team easily handled Fraser Valley champion DW Poppy 47-0. Zach Kahn set a captain’s lead with two tries, while David Boroto, Dante Morandin, Aidan McCleary, Saeed Shokoya and Mitchell Newman added singles. Fullback Michael Baart managed six of the seven conversions, many from wide positions.

The victory set up a much anticipated semi-final versus #1 seed Rockridge. A shaky start had SMUS on the defensive for the opening few minutes before the siege was lifted. Then the Blue Jags went on the attack, putting together numerous multi-phase moves in the face of fierce Ravens’ defence. Unfortunately, two Baart penalty attempts slid narrowly by the posts, while the team failed to capitalize on a five-metre scrum opportunity.

Then things fell apart. SMUS gave away some key possessions and twice failed to clear accurately from inside its own 22. The second of these miscues was particularly costly, as it came in the last few seconds of the half, when a kick to touch would have kept the damage to only 12-0. Instead, they were down 17-0 and had a mountain to climb in order to get back in the game.

Fueled by desperation and basically throwing caution to the wind, the team attacked with abandon, threatening on many occasions. However, Rockridge, even if employing some cynical defensive tactics which saw three players dispatched to the sin bin, conceded only a penalty goal. When the Ravens then kicked one of their own, the score stood at 20-3 with eight minutes to play.

Then SMUS found another gear, with Morandin finishing off a sweeping move to cross near the posts. A few minutes later, Shokoya blitzed down the left touchline, riding the last tackle to add a second score. When Baart slotted the extras from the touchline, SMUS was back within three points, with 2.15 remaining.

But it was not to be. Rockridge mounted a series of drives as the stadium clock ticked down to 0. SMUS did get the ball one last time, moving it side to side searching for a gap. Unfortunately, a knock-on ended proceedings. The Ravens moved through to the final, which they duly won in fairly comfortable fashion.

In some ways, perhaps the subsequent SMUS bronze medal loss vs McRoberts was not altogether surprising. Clearly not over the crushing semifinal loss, the team conceded two soft early tries to fall behind 12-0. Things improved marginally in the second half, thanks to a rearranged backline, and with Grade 10 Josh Graffi and lock Warren Marriott helping spark something of a resurgence. A few minutes from time, McCleary finally managed to score but one last fling then ended up just short of the line.

Thanks to all the players for their efforts this season, especially seniors Kahn, Shokoya, Boroto, Baart, Matt Shin, Matt Rud, Jacob Wilson-Potter, Abe Kharaghani, Jason Wang and Danny Park. The 19 returnees in the squad will look to another opportunity in a year’s time.

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