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By Michael Christianson
Despite a bit of rain sweeping through The Harry McMaster Classic provided a fun day of competition for students from across the region.
The former DHS Track and Field Invitational was renamed this year and hosted over 300 elementary and high school aged athletes from Fort Frances, Kenora, Pickle Lake, Sioux Lookout, Beaver Brae, Ignace, Vermilion Bay and Lac Seul that took to the Dryden High School’s new track.
Students competed in a number of events including long jump, javelin, shot put and a wide variety of track events including the steeple chase.
Andie Wood of Dryden High School wasn’t going to let a little rain get her down on the home turf.
“It’s a little wet but it’s the same amount of fun as always,” said Wood. “The meets have been spread out enough that I can kind of see how I have progressed over the season and having the home track, I have no words, it’s awesome and it’s definitely benefited the team in so many ways.”
Jordan Botsford, a coach from Fort Frances was happy to make the trek to Dryden with his students.
“It’s been wonderful so far; it’s always nice coming here,” said Botsford. “Dryden always does so much work to make sure that everyone has a good time even with rainy weather. It’s great to have the hard work of all the volunteers and the coaches and athletes in Dryden, we’re thankful for that aspect. They have all this wonderful equipment and they love bringing everyone in to use it so we’re thankful for that.”
Dryden has hosted three meets in recent memory and Botsford went on to praise Dryden for giving his team more chance to compete before the big tournaments.
“There’s been times where we’ve gone into NorWOSSA with one meet under our belt, sometimes not even a meet so being able to have a couple extra meets to just practice and see the competition has been great,” said Botsford. “Plus it gives them something fun to do not just practice, practice, practice, I think they appreciate that aspect.”
Athletes of all ages were competing during the Harry McMaster Classic. Brennan Waller who is in grade eight at New Prospect School saw this competition as a stepping-stone towards his high school athletic career.
“When I get into a heat of competition against really fast people I usually go faster,” said Waller. “In high school I’ll be definitely joining the track team and the cross country team.”
Obishikokaang Elementary School from the Lac Seul First Nation brought students from grades three to eight. Steven Korleanik has taken the kids to meets in Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay and knew the kids were having a great time in Dryden.
“They love being active, involved and being able to compete against other schools and meet new people here too,” said Korleanik. “They love track and field it’s something they are very passionate about.”
This event was the final meet before NWOSSAA track in Thunder Bay on May 26 and 27.