If shot putter Audrée LeBlanc is New Brunswick’s best hope for a medal at the Canadian Legion Championships, the fact remains Jack Mellish could very well cause an upset in the 400m hurdles.
It was a travel day for the provincial team en route to Sherbrooke for the three days of competition starting Friday.
With the exception of Audrée LeBlanc and Marie-Ève Maillet, who will compete outside of the provincial program, all 36 Team NB athletes were on board the bus along with coaches and chaperones.
The goals are high for Mellish, who is set to compete in four events at the Stade de l’Université de Sherbrooke.
He is therefore very confident in his chances of making the podium in the 400m hurdles.
“As this is my second time at a championship, I know what to expect,” said Mellish, who competes in the U18 division. My best chance of a podium is in the 400m relay. If I get close to 55 seconds I won’t be far.”
A time of 55 seconds and 70 minutes could effectively put him in a medal position. Still, the task is very difficult as his personal grade currently stands at 57s85. However, there is a big difference between running it alone, as is often the case in the Maritimes, and being spurred on by the country’s elite. The Colpitts Settlement runner will also compete in the 400m, 4x100m and 4x400m relays.
Malika Allain from Bathurst will be watched in the 2000m steeplechase. A top 10 placement is definitely achievable, especially since she believes in her chances of approaching the 7:35 minute mark.
“I feel better than last year,” says Allain. It’s less stressful. My chances are good in the U18 steeplechase over 2000m, but I also think I can do well over 800m. At the start of the summer I thought it would be nice to hit a time of 2:22 and I’ve already beaten that time by more than three seconds. I can’t wait to see what it’s like to compete against good runners. They will urge me to drive faster.”
Dieppoise Lexie Girouard, who can be found in the U16 division, will have her first experience in the Canadian elite.
“I want to achieve personal bests in both of my events,” she said. If I can beat my personal best of 5:45 in the 1500m steeplechase, I should have a chance of making the top 10. However, it could be more difficult on the 1200 m.
Arian Noël from Paquetville also sees herself in the top 10 in the U18 high jump. She even thinks it’s possible to jump 1.60m, her personal best indoor is 1.57m.
“My goal is to finish in the top 10 or even better in the top 8. But if I jump 1.60 meters, the top 5 is within reach. I’m a little nervous, but it’s a good nervousness,” says the one who will also compete in the long jump event.
Coach Sue Loparco also agrees that with the exception of Audrée LeBlanc, who currently ranks second in the country in her age group in the shot put, medal opportunities are limited to Jack Mellish and possibly the women’s relays.
“Our girls are fast and anything can happen in the relay,” said Loparco. For example, there may be disqualifications, as was the case last year. But if we come home with a medal or two, that would be a good harvest.
U16 women’s team
Allison Wasson, Dieppe, ASEA; Lexie Girouard, Dieppe, ASEA; Frédérique Thibault-Simard, Dieppe, ASEA; Claire Gromack, Moncton, ASEA; Cloey Daigle, Miramichi, ASEA; Audree Sinclair, Riverview, ASEA; Jolene Harvey, Bathurst, ACAN; Olivia Brown, Quispamsis, SJTC.
Men’s U16 team
Vincent LeBlanc, Dieppe, ASEA; Miguel Boudreau, Moncton, ASEA; David Blanchard, Bathurst, ACAN; Samuel Lepage, Bathurst, ACAN; Frederic Louis Roy, Shediac, Aetos; Jeremy Toulman, Nauwigewauk, SJTC; Anthony Richards, Quispamsis, SJTC; Orrij Gionet, Hampton, SJTC.
U18 women’s team
Shaniece Smikle, Moncton, ASEA; Elisha Delphin, Dieppe, ASEA; Ariane Noel, Paquetville, ASEA; Juliana Lemaire, Dieppe, ASEA; Anna Somers, Dufferin, SJTC; Felicia Mortimer, St. John, SJTC; Malika Allain, Tetagouche North, ACAN; Maude Basque, Saint-Irénée, APAC.
Men’s U18 team
Jack Mellish, Colpitts Settlement, ASEA; Breilan Levi Labobe, Elsipogtog, ASEA; Jacoby Francis, Elsipogtog, ASEA; Noah MacKinnon, Miramichi, ASEA; Greysen Aspen, Moncton, ASEA; Nathan Rioux, Dieppe, Aetos; Mathis Fournier, Pointe Verte, ACAN; Tristan Lepage, Bathurst, ACAN; Logan Smith, Tetagouche, ACAN; Zander Hill, Fredericton, UNNB; Alain Blanchette, Dieppe, ASEA; Everett Kent, East Coldstream, UNNB.
Trainer: Sue Ellis-Loparco, head coach; Peter Stuart, assistant coach; Alex Stuart, assistant coach; Brandon LeBlanc, assistant coach.
escorts: Brian Eisan; Michelle Eisan; Mary Mersereau; Larry Dadson
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