At home in Stettler last week for the zone meet, Dacia Gramlick knew she had just one shot at the provincial high school track and field championships this weekend in Calgary.
And she made the most of it.
Gramlick, a Grade 10 student at William E. Hay Composite High School, qualified for the provincials with her silver-medal performance in the junior girls’ long jump at the Central Alberta zone meet.
In a classic finish, Gramlick placed second only to Innisfail wunderkind Mackenzie Ramsell, who broke a 15-year-old zone record with a jump of 5.33 metres.
Gramlick, who jumped 5.20 metres, came just shy of beating that old record (5.22m), which since 1998 had belonged to Chaundra Allard of Lindsay Thurber in Red Deer.
That morning event last Wednesday was the extent of Gramlick’s participation in the zone meet, even though she had qualified in multiple disciplines at the area championships the previous week in Stettler.
As previously scheduled, the gifted girl left the Stettler track early to head to the singing provincials in Edmonton, where she hit more high notes and earned a silver medal for one of musical-theatre performances.
“I left right after I was done long jump,” said Gramlick, a 100-metre specialist who showed she’s no slouch in field events, either.
“(Beforehand), I was a bit nervous, but I was ready. I was well-trained, so I was confident.”
Gramlick, 16, hadn’t previously seen Ramsell, “but after that, I heard she was national champion for long jump the past year … and I had heard she won the 100 metres (in the zone meet).”
Facing such heady competition brought out the best in Gramlick, who expects to go up against more elite athletes Saturday at Foothills Athletic Park in Calgary.
“It made me strive for a better distance, just hoping that I could get there,” she said. “Knowing that she trains all year, and we have a short (high school) season, so we didn’t get to train that often. But knowing I possibly could get there, it’s encouraging and gives you a new mindset.”
Gramlick, already an impact player with the senior girls’ high school basketball team, is also a track standout.
She won four events at the area meet, but had to skip the 100 metres, triple jump and high jump at the zones.
“I’ve done a lot of hard work this year and it’s paid off,” said Gramlick, whose medal-winning song at the music provincials was in the up-tempo category.
“Last year, too.”
She said that last week was her first scheduling confl ict between music and track this season, and that she’d make the same decision again.
She’s banking on more opportunities in the next couple of years to reach the provincials and compete in the 100 metres in intermediate and senior.
For now, her focus is on Day 2 of this weekend’s two-day meet. She practised her long-jumping technique and approach during a practice after-school Monday, working with coaches Anthony Jones and Luke Peters.
“We’re doing it over again just to get your body used to it, and getting a mindset,” she said. “It takes a lot of mind to be able to do those things.
“It takes a lot of back and forth to get your mark, so that you’re just right on the board and get the best distance.”
She welcomed the tutelage of Jones, who has a U.S. college track background and coaches at the club level.
“Mr. Jones has been a great coach,” Gramlick said. “He’s got me going just that much faster and that much farther.”