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Track team takes third overall
Track team takes third overall

Shawn Giilck
Northern News Services
Thursday, June 18, 2015

The East Three Secondary School Eagles track and field team might not have retained their banner at the recent territorial championships in Hay River, but the head coach says it wasn't a disappointing finish at all.

NNSL photo/graphic

The East Three Secondary School track and field team placed third overall at the recent territorial championships in Yellowknife. Pictured in front from left are Winter Allen Karly King Simpson, who took the overall title in the senior girls; in the back from left are Jackson Christie, who placed first overall in the boys category, future star Mackenzie McDonald; and head coach Colin Pybus. - Shawn Giilck/NNSL photo

Colin Pybus, one of the coaches for the team, said this was a a bit of a rebuilding year for the team following some striking successes in the past two years.

With a third-place finish in the overall scores, the team definitely has some upside, Pybus said.

"We are losing four athletes this year to graduation, which is going to hurt, but there are more athletes coming up, and there's definitely a lot of talent in the younger grades moving forward.

This year's championships also featured superb performances by a number of athletes, particularly Jackson Christie, who had a monster performance and placed first overall in his age division after winning several events.

Karly King Simpson, who Pybus praised as a "national-level" competitor, also took the overall girls title in her age group, with some dominating performances.

"We were very pleased on the whole with how the team did at the competition, placing third overall in the territory," Pybus said June 12. "We had talked about having realistic expectations before we went down, having lost some of our bigger point-getters from last year's team either to academics or moving or other things.

"It was a bit of a younger team, with five first-time athletes going down. It went very well, with some good experience for them being down there for the first time."

Pybus had predicted Christie would win the juvenile males title beforehand, along with King Simpson's win in the junior girls.

"Both of them did exceptionally well, as expected," he said. "Maybe you couldn't have (seriously) predicted they would win the titles, but you knew they would place well and they did very well."

Ben Kaufman and Darcie Setzer also performed very well in the running events, Pybus said.

"Braeden Picek and Winter Allen both did very well with their jumps, triple jump and long jump, and Mackenzie McDonald had a very nice 200-metre run in the finals."

Pybus predicted McDonald, one of the first-time athletes, would develop into a very good middle-distance runner, rather than the sprinter he had previously anticipated.

Christie, always a modest athlete, struck a humble demeanour when asked about his performance.

"I placed first in all three of my running events, and second in the triple-jump," he said. "It was pretty awesome.

"I just trained hard. Pretty much every day we had morning practices, and we did some after-school practices too."

King Simpson was also humble about her win.

"It was pretty spikey," she said. "This year I was actually hoping to get a medal, and there we go. I was really hoping for something like a bronze medal, so I was really happy to get gold."

She said her triple-jump is likely her strongest event.

Winter Allen said he had fun at his first championships, placing not far outside of the medals in four events.

That makes him one of the up-and-coming athletes on the team, along with McDonald.

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