For the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the top track and field athletes in the province will be at Jacob Hespeler Secondary School for the OFSAA West Regionals Track and Field Championships on June 2 and 3.
The top six athletes in each event from this week’s Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association (CWOSSA) championships and the top five from the Western Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association (WOSSAA) and South Western Ontario Secondary School Athletic Association (SWOSSAA) championships will qualify for the Ontario west meet.
Convener Jim Woolley is excited to to welcome some of the best talent to Cambridge.
“It certainly gives us a a chance to showcase track and field,” Woolley said.
“We don’t usually have club meets in this area so high school is really the only chance.”
Involvement in high level track and field is nothing new to Woolley.
An Eastwood Collegiate Institute graduate and OFSAA champion in the 400 metre hurdles, he would go on to compete at Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. on a scholarship.
Woolley says the skill of the athletes that will be in attendance is as impressive as anywhere in the province.
“The west region is one of the strongest,” he said.
“Those who win here will have a very good chance to be in the top six at OFSAA. There’s a very strong nucleus of high school track programs and club programs in the region.”
Aside from the competition itself, the athletes, school officials and families will bring a surge of revenue to the city.
“People will be calling around as soon as CWOSSA, WOSSAA and SWOSSAA is over to find accommodations,” Woolley said.
“Some may have booked ahead of time. Surrounding hotels and restaurants will benefit from the meet being right in their backyard.”
Woolley hopes the community will embrace the event and what it brings to the community.
“You'll see a bunch of kids being involved in a high level of competition,” he said.
“Spectators can expect close races.”
The top four from each event will qualify for the OFSAA Championships in Ottawa from June 8 to 10.