Sunday, June 16, 2024

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Will Batley has OFSAA record-breaking debut as boys’ senior sprinter

Must read


~~~~~~~~~ Advertisement ~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~ Advertisement ~~~~~~~~~

By Martin Cleary

As a Grade 9 student-athlete in the spring of 2022, Will Batley was a raw sprinter blessed with plenty of potential.

At his first OFSAA track and field championships that year, the West Carleton Secondary School athlete qualified for the boys’ novice 100- and 200-metre finals. He seized the 100-metre bronze medal with a time of 11.38 seconds in the final and was seventh over 200 metres in 23.57 seconds.

When the 2023 OFSAA championships landed at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility, which is his home training base, Batley took a double, giant step forward in the boys’ junior class.

Having been introduced to formal training sessions with head coach Lyndon George at Constant and Never-Ending Improvement (C.A.N.I.) Athletics and strength coach Chris Schwarz, Batley soared to the top. He emerged as a double champion, winning the 100 and 200 metres in respective times of 11.02 seconds and 21.90 seconds.

A Grade 11 student-athlete, Batley, 17, made his debut as a first-year senior this spring. While he’s proud of his running and three career OFSAA sprint medals, he knew it would be tough to maintain a high profile at the top high-school level.


~~~~~~~~~ Advertisement ~~~~~~~~~




~~~~~~~~~ Advertisement ~~~~~~~~~

“Going into my senior year, I knew there would be more challenges as I’d be competing against older athletes,” Batley said. “There’s always the thought of medals in the back of my head, but my main goal was to make finals and see what I could do.”

What Batley did was almost unimaginable.

He took another giant step or two in his high school career on the weekend. He captured the boys’ senior 200 metres by tying the Canadian interscholastic record and breaking the OFSAA record, which were set by two future Olympians, and placed second in the 100 metres, missing the gold medal by two one-thousandths of a second and posting a slightly wind-aided time that would have eclipsed the national and provincial records.

Batley was one of five gold medallists on Saturday for the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association team, which also won two silver and one bronze medals on the final day of competition in London. The NCSSAA team finished the three-day championship with a total of nine gold, eight silver and six bronze medals.

“Overall, looking back I feel good about how I performed,” Batley calmly added. “I obtained a PB, broke the OFSAA record and performed good.”

Don’t forget about your national achievement.

At the 1984 OFSAA championships, Atlee Mahorn set the boys’ senior Canadian interscholastic record of 20.95 seconds in the 200 metres. Less than two months later, he was representing Canada at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He also ran for Canada at the inaugural world championships in 1983.

When Batley held off the equally talented Isaac Chandra of Kenner in the OFSAA 200-metre final, his focus was on his racing form and getting to the finish quickly. It didn’t allow him a chance to glance at the time clock. When he saw his time, he was overwhelmed.

“It felt amazing. I can’t describe it any other way,” said Batley, who hopes to use that speed at the Athletics Canada junior and senior track and field championships at the end of June in Montreal to qualify for the world U20 championships in August in Peru.

Hoping for a low time in the 21-second range at OFSAA, he never expected to dip under 21 seconds, but he did. While his time matched the 40-year-old clocking of Mahorn, it also erased the OFSAA record set by Colonel By’s Segun Makinde at 20.99 seconds from 2009.

“I felt good to know that I have (shared) an Olympian’s record. I know what he has accomplished,” Batley continued. “I felt good about racing and putting up a strong time.”

Will Batley. File photo

In the 100-metre final, a photo-finish camera was needed to determine the slimmest of margins between Batley and Chandra. The published results showed they had matching times of 10.35 seconds with a slight illegal wind of 2.9 metres per second (2.0 or less is allowable). The record was set by Carleton Chambers at 10.41 seconds in 1994 and remains intact.

After timing officials thoroughly examined the finish, Chandra was given a time of 10.344 seconds, while Batley finished in 10.346 seconds.

“I was overjoyed,” Batley enthused about his best-ever 100-metre time, even though it was slightly wind-aided. “Honestly, I’m not mad (about finishing second), but I’m happy. He’s a great runner.

“To me, I was pretty surprised with the time. I have never come that close to running that before; 10.5 seconds was my fastest before. To be able to run that fast caught me off guard in a good way.”

In his second year of training with C.A.N.I. Athletics, Batley has benefited greatly from the coaching of George and Schwarz.

“Lyndon has helped me a lot with all the practices and work I have put in. It has helped me tremendously. Compared to my first year, everything has improved – my (starting) blocks, endurance and speed,” he explained.

Batley also has improved because of the strength training sessions with Schwarz as well as a nutritional eating program, which has seen him gain weight and put on muscle.

The NCSSAA’s other four gold medallists Saturday were Zachary Jeggo of Louis-Riel, boys’ senior 400-metre hurdles; Ange-Mathis Kramo of Paul-Desmarais, boys’ junior 200 metres; Eli Mordel of Sir Robert Borden, boys’ junior pole vault; and Mallea McMullin of Louis-Riel, girls’ novice javelin.

Jeggo, who won the 400 metres on Friday and is also in Grade 11, became an OFSAA double champion, when he captured the boys’ senior 400-metre hurdles in 53.72 seconds. A time of 21.69 seconds gave Kramo the boys’ junior 200-metre title. Kramo also was the 100-metre runner-up.

Mordel improved by almost half a metre from his OFSAA East Regional meet, when he won the boys’ junior pole vault at 3.95 metres. After struggling with her first three javelin throws and faulting on her final two tosses, McMullin exploded on her fourth-round throw with a girls’ novice winning mark of 40.04 metres.

The NCSSAA silver-medal winners were De La Salle’s Safwan El Mansari in the boys’ senior 800 metres with a time of 1:54.56 and Grace Streek of Peak Centre Academy in the girls’ 3,000 metres in 10:05.64. On Friday, Streek won the girls’ open 2,000-metre steeplechase.

Taisei Tan of Beatrice-Desloges earned his second OFSAA medal, when he took bronze during the boys’ junior 300-metre hurdles final in 39.45 seconds. He won the silver medal in the 100-metre hurdles in 13.52 seconds on Friday.

Other notable NCSSAA results were recorded by Lecia Patrick, Ashbury, girls’ senior 200 metres, fourth, 24.58 seconds; Luke Van Brabant, Earl of March, boys’ novice 800 metres, fourth, 2:01.53; Ivie Omoregie, Immaculata, girls’ novice high jump, fourth, 1.53 metres; Abby Lorz, A.Y. Jackson, girls’ novice javelin, sixth, 30.91 metres; Zachary Benfaida, Merivale, boys’ novice 300-metre hurdles, sixth, 44.03 seconds; Tillie Pender, Nepean, girls’ junior javelin, sixth, 31.53 metres; Jordan Blondin, Franco-Ouest, girls’ junior javelin, seventh, 30.04 metres; Timéo Atonfo, Gisèle-Lalonde, boys’ senior long jump, seventh, 6.53 metres; Charlie Mortimer, Hillcrest, boys’ junior 3,000 metres, 8:49.27; and Deborah Adeleye, Ashbury, girls’ junior triple jump, eighth, 11.05 metres.

Louis-Riel was fourth in the boys’ senior standings with 26 points, which played a significant role in helping the school finish fourth in the boys’ overall standings with 37 points.

Gisèle-Lalonde tied for fourth place in the girls’ novice team standings with 20 points, which left the school in 18th place on the overall list with the same point total.

Meanwhile, Paul-Desmarais and Louis-Riel reached the quarterfinals at the OFSAA boys’ AA soccer championship, but lost respective games to Monsignor Percy Johnson of Toronto and Holy Trinity of Simcoe, which was the eventual gold medallist. Percy Johnson took the silver medal.

At the OFSAA boys’ AA rugby championship, Cairine Wilson reached the consolation final, but lost 31-14 to Holy Trinity of Simcoe to finish in sixth place.

CANADA UPSETS USA IN MEN’S VOLLEYBALL, SPLITS 4 MATCHES

The Canadian men’s volleyball team won two of its four Volleyball Nations League matches at the TD Place Arena.

After defeating Cuba 3-1 and losing by the same score to Argentina, Canada outlasted the powerful United States team 25-16, 19-25, 26-24, 28-26 before more than 7,000 spectators, which was a record crowd for a league match in North America.

“I think the difference today was serve and receive,” Canadian captain Nicholas Hoag of Gatineau said in a press release. “We were able to put a lot of pressure on the USA today.

“When they are in system, they are one of the best defensive teams in the world and we were able to keep them off net and work the block defence. It was also a great atmosphere here tonight.”

Nick Hoag (centre). Photo: Derek Mellon

In its final game on Sunday, Canada won the opening game 25-21 against Serbia, but dropped the final three games 25-20, 25-18 and 25-23. Canada has already qualified for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games.

The Canadian women’s team has a chance to add its name to the Paris 2024 qualified list during its final set of four Nations League preliminary round matches this week in Japan.

Featuring Ottawa’s Vicky Savard and Shaïnah Joseph, the Canadian women need to finish the week ahead of the Netherlands in the world rankings. The rivals will face off in their third of the four matches Friday morning at 2:30 a.m. ET.

5 OTTAWA PLAYERS JOIN NATIONAL WOMEN’S RUGBY 15s TEAM

Five players with Ottawa connections have been named to the 28-player Canadian women’s 15s rugby team for a brief two-game tour of Spain.

The national roster includes Olivia De Couvreur of the Ottawa Irish, Maya Addai of B.C. Gold and formerly of Carleton University, Aurora Bowie of the University of Ottawa and Markham Irish, Claire Gallagher of the University of Ottawa and Leicester Tigers and Demi Swann of Exeter Chiefs and formerly of Carleton University.

Canada won the opening match 27-12 against Spain.

LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST

· Four junior golfers have qualified for the Ontario men’s amateur golf championship June 24-27 at the St. Catharines Golf and Country Club. Making the grade at a qualifying competition at Greensmere Golf Club were winner Max Corcoran of Loch March, even-par 72, and runners-up Shane Stanley of Carleton Yacht, Atlas Ibit, a public player, and Rowan MacDonald of Royal Ottawa, all at one-over-par 73.

· Former University of Ottawa football great Neil Lumsden has been named the first Ontario minister of sport, after serving as the province’s minister of tourism, culture and sport.

· Three-time world windsurfing champion Caroll-Ann Alie of Gracefield, Que., has been selected as one of 14 new members of the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Museum. She will be inducted Oct. 5 at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club.

· Carleton University Ravens’ Xavier Spencer, the U Sports and OUA men’s basketball 2023-24 rookie of the year, has been invited to the Antigua and Barbuda men’s training camp in preparation for the Caribbean Basketball Conference World Cup qualifier in July.

· Ottawa Stingers’ Patrice Dagenais and the Canadian wheelchair rugby team won their first game over Australia, but lost their next four to USA, France, Japan and Great Britain to finish sixth and last at the Canada Cup in Richmond, B.C.

· Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club’s Lauren Gale exceeded the Canadian Olympic standard in the women’s 400 metres last week at an elite meet staged by the Royal City Inferno in Guelph, when she ran 50.47 seconds. CANI’s Eliezer Adjibi was robbed of the Olympic qualification standard time of 10.00 in the men’s 100 metres when the wind meter read 2.1. He was clocked at 9.98 in the final, while his 10.04 personal-best performance in the semis stood with a legal wind.

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 OttawaSportsPages.ca.

Martin can be reached by e-mail at martincleary51@gmail.com and on Twitter @martincleary.


HELP SHINE A LIGHT ON LOCAL SPORT! The Ottawa Sports Pages has proudly provided a voice for local sport for over 10 years, but we need your help to continue another 10 and beyond. Please donate to the Ottawa Sports Pages Fund today.

Latest article