A strong finish wasn’t enough to propel Braden Deagle of Stettler into the intermediate boys’ 200-metre final in the provincial high school track and field meet last Friday at Calgary. Deagle narrowly missed the qualifying cut with a time of 24.56 seconds in his heat.
“We were pretty even coming down the backstretch,” said Deagle, a Grade 11 student at William E. Hay Composite High School.
“I’m a little disappointed. I really would have liked to make finals, but overall, I’m pretty content with how the season went.”
Friday’s race was just Deagle’s third 200-metre competition, after first- and second-place finishes in the area and zone meets, respectively. His personal-best time is 24.14 seconds.
On the provincial stage Friday morning, Deagle’s slow start proved costly. He slept well on the trip to Calgary, but couldn’t quite get comfortable at race-time.
“I was pretty nervous,” Deagle said with a chuckle shortly afterward. “The start is always the worst, because you just have so much pressure on you. I’m a bit of a slow starter, and I think that’s why, because I just get so nervous down in the blocks. But after that, I felt all right.
“Mr. (Anthony) Jones worked with us on our endurance earlier on in the season, so I think that’s where it comes in and it helped me to carry on in the last half of the race.”
Deagle and junior long-jumper Dacia Gramlick were Stettler’s lone qualifiers for the provincial meet. Coach Jones, a sprint specialist, was at the Calgary track Friday, sporting a Wildcat athletics jacket.
“I knew that he was going to be here, so that definitely relieved a little stress and made me calm down a bit,” said Deagle, who also competed at the provincials last year while representing Consort School.
“It’s nice to have a coach like that that can bring you to a new level.”
Jones has proposed working with his track pupils for a longer period next season. Deagle is already busy with volleyball and basketball, but he has dropped badminton, so he hopes that might give him more time for track in his senior year.
Deagle’s parents watched his provincial race, as did one of his older sisters, Nicole, who lives in Calgary.
She competed in track during her high school years.
“She made it to provincials all three years,” Deagle said after receiving a hug from his sister. “She’s actually one of the reasons why I did the 200 this year, because she didn’t do the 200 until her last year. She realized then that was one of her stronger events. So I didn’t want to waste the chance.”
Deagle didn’t waste any chances to participate in Wildcat sports, even while bothered with shin splints.
“They’ve been bugging me pretty bad the past week or two,” he said. “Just even walking around has been pretty painful, but taping has been helping.
“You kind of start slowing down at the end of the year. So it’s definitely nice to be done now and have a bit of a break.”
FINISH LINE: With a time of 24.39, Eckville’s Jonathon Allen was the final qualifier for the 200-metre final, in which he placed eighth in 24.39. The gold-medallist, Ian Harriott of Ross Sheppard in Edmonton, posted a 22.11 finish.