Monday, June 17, 2024

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Grace Streek, Derek Strachan strike OFSAA gold in open 2,000-metre steeplechase

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By Martin Cleary

The City of Ottawa has a new title – the High School Steeplechase Capital of Ontario.

Cards of appreciation for that new honorific can be delivered to Grace Streek of the Peak Centre Academy and Derek Strachan of Glebe Collegiate Institute.

At the OFSAA provincial high school track and field championships in London, Streek and Strachan started the afternoon session of finals on Friday with a bang by winning their respective girls’ and boys’ open steeplechase races over 2,000 metres.

The National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association team collected 13 medals during the middle day of the three-day championships – three gold, six silver and four bronze.

Streek took control of the girls’ steeplechase after the slow first lap and sped to victory in seven minutes, 1.61 seconds for a 4.14-second cushion over runner-up Nari Hwang of Eastview in Barrie.

Strachan and Louis-Riel’s Daniel Cova set the pace for most of the boys’ steeplechase challenge and the former made his move with 600 metres remaining. He held off a surging Nolan Buie of Brooklin to post a winning time of 6:00.83. Buie was second at 6:01.75.

As the boys’ steeplechase field was being marshalled to the start line, Strachan watched Streek sprint to the finish line. Her overall performance meant a lot to him.

“I saw her pull away and that gave me motivation and confidence,” Strachan said in a phone interview after the race.

Strachan celebrated his first OFSAA track medal with his father Jeff and Glebe coach Kirk Dillabaugh as well as some friends and relatives.

“I was super happy. I saw my friends, my dad and my coach and they were super happy,” added the Grade 12 student-athlete, who won his only race in his third and final OFSAA track championship. “It was an awesome day.”

“My goal was definitely to try to get a medal. I wanted to run a race that I would be proud of. Winning was a possibility, but I didn’t want to put that pressure on myself.”

Dillabaugh wrote in an email that Strachan ran “an excellent race.”

“We discussed options and he decided his best tactic was to surge with about a lap and a half to go,” Dillabaugh said in an email interview.

“Derek is so much better than most high school steeplechasers over the water barrier, so when he made a strong move heading into the barrier for the penultimate time, he really opened a gap between himself and the field.

“He timed it well and had more than enough to maintain the surge through the final 600 metres to the finish line.”

The NCSSAA had strong representation in the boys’ steeplechase. Besides Strachan’s gold-medal effort, Cova captured the bronze medal in 6:06.94, while Owen Siderius of Colonel By was sixth in 6:15.54.

The top eight athletes in each of the boys’ and girls’ novice, junior and senior track and field events earned points for their school teams.

Streek was “super happy” to watch and celebrate Strachan’s victory, which added to her steeplechase victory a few minutes earlier.

“I was good with it, although it wasn’t a PB (personal-best time). I didn’t feel I needed to go faster to win,” said Streek, who shared her win with her mother Karen, her siblings and an aunt.

“I set a goal of breaking the record, obviously, but it ended up being quite windy. For the first lap, I stuck with the group, but it wasn’t the time I was looking for.”

Streek wanted to break the two-year-old girls’ open 2,000-metre steeplechase record, which was set by Elizabeth Vroom of Sir Wilfrid Laurier at 6:52.19.

Louis-Riel’s Zachary Jeggo was the NCSSAA’s other gold medallist, when he won the boys’ senior 400-metre final in 47.82 seconds. He was pushed hard by silver-medallist Stephan Balson of Lisgar in 48.27 seconds and William Sanders of St. Mother Teresa, who was fourth in 48.64 seconds.

Will Batley of West Carleton was a blink of an eye shy of winning the boys’ senior 100-metre final and was awarded the silver medal. Batley and race winner Isaac Chandra of Kenner had matching times of 10.35 seconds, but timing officials needed to go to thousandths of a second to break the deadlock. The more detailed times weren’t released.

The time produced by Chandra and Batley would have eclipsed the OFSAA record, but the 2.9 per second win exceeded the allowed limit of 2.0. Carlton Chambers will keep his boys’ senior 100-metre record for another year, after running 10.41 in 1994.

Ange-Mathis Kramo of Paul-Desmarais had a similar photo finish in the boys’ junior 100-metre final and also had to settle for the silver medal. His time of 10.72 seconds left him one one-hundredth of a second behind winner Jahleel Haley of Father Henry Carr, who finished in 10.71 seconds.

NCSSAA athletes also won two silver medals in the hurdles’ finals. Taisei Tan of Béatrice-Desloges was second in the boys’ junior race over 100 metres in 13.52 seconds, which was 0.12 seconds out of first. Eli Mordel of Sir Robert Borden was fifth in 13.81 seconds.

Daniel Pilkington of St. Francis Xavier was the silver medallist in the boys’ novice 100-metre hurdles in 13.93 seconds.

Immaculata’s Ellie McGregor picked up her first OFSAA track medal with a second-place result in the girls’ novice 400 metres in 58.05 seconds. Vincent Massey’s Anieu Chan was first in 56.07 seconds.

The other bronze medallists were: Tahlia Aird-Greaves, Gisèle-Lalonde, girls’ novice 80-metre hurdles, 11.75 seconds; Deborah Adeleye, Ashbury, girls’ junior long jump, 5.31 metres; and Colens Desardouin, Mer Bleue, boys’ novice, shot put, 13.46 metres.

Adeleye and Desardouin were extremely close to finishing higher on the medal table. Adeleye finished two centimetres behind gold medallist Jennilee Harris of Perth and one centimetre out of third. Desardouin was a single centimetre from a second-place result.

Other notable results came from:

Ayoub Shangai, Louis-Riel, fourth, boys’ junior 400 metres, 50.29 seconds;

Timeo Atonfo, Gisèle-Lalonde, fifth, boys’ senior 110-metre hurdles, 14.32 seconds;

Aird-Greaves, girls’ novice 100 metres, fifth, 12.46 seconds;

Beni Nkongolo, Immaculata, fifth, boys’ junior high jump, 1.80 metres;

Teagan Casselman, Holy Trinity, sixth, girls’ 80-metre hurdles, 12.50 seconds;

Max Wilson, Woodroffe, sixth, boys’ senior 1,500 metres, 3:55.01;

Kaiya Woodcock, Sacred Heart, seventh, girls’ senior 100 metres, 11.99 seconds;

Saul Taler, Glebe, seventh, boys’ senior 1,500 metres, 3:55.96;

William Martin, Ashbury, boys’ junior javelin, 48.45 metres;

Akot Akot, Notre Dame, seventh, boys’ senior high jump, 1.95 metres;

Bianca Arabackyj, De La Salle, eighth, girls’ novice 1,500 metres, 4:51.16;

and Shannon Dewar, St. Francis Xavier, eighth, girls’ junior 400 metres, 1:00.15.


Cairine Wilson has qualified for the OFSAA boys’ A/AA rugby championship consolation final on Saturday against Holy Trinity of Simcoe.

A pair of Friday wins over St. John Henry Newman, 12-0, and F.E. Madill, 12-7, allowed Wilson to reach the fifth-place game.

Ashbury missed the playoffs, losing 24-0 to Trinity College.

At the OFSAA boys’ AAA rugby championship in Peterborough, Sacred Heart was defeated by top-seeded Uxbridge 22-15 in its consolation quarterfinal match.


Paul-Desmarais and Louis-Riel finished in second place in their respective round-robin pools to qualify for the quarterfinals at the OFSAA boys’ AA soccer championship in North Bay.

In their final two pool games, Desmarais defeated St. Paul 3-0 and Huntsville 4-0 to take second place in pool B, while Riel defeated Chippewa 4-1, but lost to King’s Christian for second in pool D.

Desmarais and Riel then both dropped their quarter-final matches.

At the OFSAA boys’ AAA soccer championship, St. Mother Teresa left Windsor with a 1-3 record, following a 4-0 loss to Cardinal Carter and a 3-0 defeat by St. Ignatius of Loyola.

The NCSSAA teams struggled at the OFSAA girls’ soccer championships.

In the AA tournament in St. Thomas, Riel lost its final two games 2-1 to Saint Paul and 3-0 to Bishop Macdonell to finish with a 1-3 record.

St. Mother Teresa was defeated 3-1 by St. Patrick and 2-0 by Pickering in the AAA championship and departed Windsor with one tie and three losses. Winless Earl of March dropped its final two games 5-0 to Holy Names and 2-0 to Frontenac.


St. Joseph finished the OFSAA East Regional baseball tournament in Durham Region without a win, losing its final game 7-1 to Frontenac.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 51 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the High Achievers “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at

Martin can be reached by e-mail at and on Twitter @martincleary.

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