Jack Kendall setting off with the rod at the UVIC track & field competition last week.

Student underdogs bring back track & field at EMCS

Thanks to a group of talented young athletes, the sport returns once again to Edward Milne Community School.

After competing together in track and field back in elementary and middle school,  friends Brady Greenwood, Jack Kendall, Tyler Duncan and Matthew Thompson thought maybe they could try their hand again at competing with the big fish.

But when the team showed up at the 4 x 100 meter relay senior boys track & field competition this year, they realized they were in for a big challenge — the rival teams were numerous, better dressed and better equipped.

It was a steep slope to climb, said Greenwood, who pointed out that this is the first track & field team Edward Milne community school has had in nearly 15 years.

As it turns out though, the odds were in their favour — the boys not only won and made it to the Islands at UVIC, but went from seventh to second-place in their first heat, just seconds apart.

“Trying to get back after so long and trying to compete knowing everyone’s really good was very overwhelming at the time,”  he said, adding that it was just the four of them, including team manager Charlie Richardson, going against teams that had members counting in the dozens. “We used to do it back in elementary and middle school and just this year we said, let’s get back together and see if we can do well again.”

Kendall, who’s been one of the main players with the EMCS basketball Wolverines,  says he even borrowed turf cleats from a friend just to be able to take part. But he said that didn’t bother the team at all; the objective was to go fast and win, no matter what.

“It’s cool, we’re kind of like the underdogs,” he said. “In the last race, they didn’t even have us on the sheet, even though we finished top four. Then they put us in this bad heat and we just owned everyone.”

Not without consequence though. Thompson, the only grade-twelver in the group, busted his knee in the process due to a surgery he’d experienced prior to running. He’s recovering though, according to the team.

Still, the group is relentless — and dedicated to bring the spirit of track & field back to EMCS.

For those wondering, a 4 x 100 m relay involves a 400 m track in which each team member does a 100 m sprint around it, then passes a baton to the next member.

Tyler, who, like the other three competes in several other school sports such as baseball, says he’s pretty impressed with the team effort, considering their progress so far.

“We’ve been competing for three weeks or so – we’re all just pretty competitive guys, so we thought to get all our most athletic friends together, we think we got pretty far,” he said. “No one has heard of us in so long, then we came out and did really well, it’s pretty awesome.”

After all, there’s no greater feeling than enjoying a good victory with your friends by your side.

“Winning with our friends is an awesome feeling,” Greenwood said. “It’s awesome because a lot of people are there cheering you on and seeing how you compete.”

The team hopes that their efforts will help spearhead the track & field program at EMCS and that more people will join next year.

“Next year we could run 12 events, but all depends if we can get more people interested in this,” Greenwood said. “It’s a different feeling than any other sport.”

Having just finished grade 11, the boys are just one year away before graduating into the real world — Kendall, he hopes to get into business school and travel the world; Greenwood wants to pursue a career in basketball, and Duncan is looking for a scholarship so he can play competitive baseball.

Following their performance at UVIC, the EMCS boys are on their way to Provincials.