Tight race for Peninsula runner @WhiteRockNews

August 29, 2013

August, 28, 2013 – By Sarah Massah

PEACE ARCH NEWS – Ocean Athletics club member and South Surrey resident Deon Clifford was half a second away from nabbing a medal at the Pan-American Junior Championships held in Medellin, Colombia last weekend.

The 18-year-old clocked a time of 9:25:87 in the men’s final 3000-m steeplechase Saturday, just .30 seconds behind Colombia’s Nelson Andres Blanco, who came in third.

According to Jim Clifford, Deon’s father and a coach at Ocean Athletics, the Peninsula runner followed a conservative race strategy because of the high altitude of the venue, going out near the back of the pack for the first few laps and slowly working his way through the runners.

With 500 metres to go, Clifford was in third place, picking up the pace as he neared home.

Despite the final push, Clifford was unable to match the speed of gold medal winner Yuber Echeverry (9:16:37) and Canadian Antoine Thibeault (9:17:09) who took home silver.

In the final lap, Clifford ended up in a close race with Blanco, who took home bronze with a time of 9:25:57.

According to Jim, Clifford was pleased with his effort, but could not find the energy on the last lap when he felt the effects of the thin air.

“He just felt the altitude effect, felt pretty weak and struggled over the last lap and the other Colombian caught up to him,” Jim said. “It was pretty exciting, pretty darn close.”

Clifford will now prepare for the Canadian Cross-Country Championships slated for Nov. 30 in Vancouver.

Full article: http://www.peacearchnews.com/sports/221523501.html


‘I just wanted a medal’ @LangleyTimes @Geeorrgiaa

August 28, 2013

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Langley’s Georgia Ellenwood clears the high jump bar during the Pan American junior track and field championships in Colombia on Aug. 24 and 25. Ellenwood won the bronze medal in the heptathlon (photo Liga De Atletismo De-Antioquia)

By Gary Ahuja – August 27, 2013

LANGLEY TIMES – For Georgia Ellenwood, it was all about the medal.

“I remember thinking I didn’t even care about a PB (personal best), I just wanted a medal,” she said.

And it was mission accomplished for the 18-year-old as Ellenwood captured the bronze medal in the heptathlon over the weekend at the Pan-American junior championships in Medellin, Colombia.

The championships are for track and field athletes ages 19 and under.

She did manage a personal best, scoring 5,493 points, which was 32 points better than her previous best.

Her latest score also ranks her 10th in the world junior rankings and third on the all-time Canadian junior list.

The gold and silver went to Cuba’s Yusleidys Mendieta Valasquez and the United States’ Kendell Williams, who scored 5,627 points and 5,572 points, respectively.

“It was kind of surreal,” Ellenwood said.

“I was standing on the podium, thinking this is the first time I have been up here (at an international event) in front of all these people.

“And looking at the athletes next to me, I was thinking these girls are what I used to look up to and now I am standing right next to them.

“That was a really cool experience.”

This was Ellenwood’s third time representing Canada.

In 2011, she attended the world youth championships in Lille, France and then last year she was at the world junior championships in Barcelona, Spain.

“Both times I didn’t even come top 10, so this was a big move,” she said.

Ellenwood was ranked third or fourth heading into the competition.

“I knew I could medal (but) everyone is just so tight in the heptathlon, it could go any way,” she said.

“I just knew I had to keep consistent and keep on medal pace and on PB pace.”

Heading into the final event of the seven-event heptathlon, Ellenwood was sitting third.

She had finished second in the long jump (5.81m) and third in the javelin (35.61m). She also tied for third in both the 100m (14.43) and the high jump (1.74m). And she was sixth in both the shot put (10.44m) and the 200m (24.87).

All that remained was the 800m, but the competitor who was directly behind Ellenwood, Argentina’s Fiorela Chiappe, is a strong 800m runner. Ellenwood knew that if she could just keep within three seconds of her counterpart, the bronze medal was hers.

“I just stuck to her the whole race,” she explained. “By the last 50m, she started pulling ahead … I just had to stay with her as much as I could.

“At the end, I knew that I had.”

Chiappe was first to cross the finish line among the eight competitors, but Ellenwood was just over a second behind.

Ellenwood said she was at first tired immediately following the race, but that soon subsided and was replaced with relief, and finally excitement to stand on the podium.

“This probably  ranks as my highest accomplishment yet,” she said. “This is my first international (event) I have placed that highly in. My next goal will probably be next year’s world junior championships.”

She is no stranger to winning medals, both at the provincial level and national level.

This past June, she set a new record in becoming the first athlete to capture four consecutive B.C. high school track and field provincial heptathlon titles. For her high school career at Langley Secondary, Ellenwood won 10 gold and three silver.

The long-time member of the Langley Mustangs Track and Field Club also earned herself a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin, where she will compete for the Badgers at the NCAA Division 1 level.

When Ellenwood spoke to The Times on Tuesday morning, she was tired from a busy travel schedule. She had gone from Langley to Toronto and then to Colombia and back again and was now busy packing for her impending move to Madison, Wisc. for her freshman year of university.

Ellenwood was scheduled to leave yesterday (Wednesday) morning.

••••

George and Yee represent Canada at Pan American Junior Champs

Two members of the Trinity Western Spartans track and field team were also at the Pan American junior championships as part of Team Canada.

And second-year Spartan sprinter Nathan George of Coquitlam helped the Canadian 4×400 relay team take bronze. George ran the opening leg.

Meanwhile, incoming Trinity Western athlete Regan Yee of South Hazelton, B.C. finished seventh tin the 3000m steeplechase in Colombia.

Full article: http://www.langleytimes.com/sports/221403381.html