If Aiden Grout had been alive in 1934, he’d be a world-record holder.
The 17-year-old Maple Ridge high school student will be one name to watch next week when the B.C. School Sports track and field championships come to Kelowna’s Apple Bowl.
Grout won the high jump event at the Fraser Valley championships this week, equaling his personal best of 2.06 metres.
To put that in perspective, American Walter Marty jumped 2.06 (or a shade over six-feet, nine inches) to set the benchmark in 1934.
While Kelowna might not break any world records between May 30 and June 1, there will be no shortage of inspiring efforts from some of the province’s top young talent.
“We’ve got some of the best athletes in the country,” said Andrew Lenton, the championship’s convener.
If you can’t remember the last time Kelowna hosted the B.C. high school track championships, you might be too young. The event has rarely traveled outside the Lower Mainland, and was last in Kelowna in 1972.
Lenton said the championship committee has decided to move the event around B.C. to ease travel and fundraising costs for teams outside Metro Vancouver or the Fraser Valley.
It was in Nanaimo four years ago, and Lenton said the move allowed 15 schools that hadn’t regularly participated the chance to compete.
This isn’t your typical track meet, either.
“It’s staged similar to a national championship,” Lenton said. “It’s just a really high-quality event.”
Lenton said Kelowna should expect 2,400 athletes, 450 coaches and 65 officials, plus friends, family, spectators and broadcasters.
Yes, TV broadcasters.
BCSS intends on livestreaming the events online and is trucking in a Jumbotron and TV crews to provide instant access (just no instant replays; that’s too technical to pull off) to events happening in and around the Apple Bowl.
Multiple cameras will provide high-definition, on-demand access to anyone who can’t watch in person.
Lenton said it’s likely the largest high school sporting event in the country (along with Ontario’s track meet).
Can the Apple Bowl handle this closeup?
“It’s a great facility,” Lenton said. “The track surface is great. I don’t expect any issues at all. … It’s got everything that we would need to run the meet.”
About the only change happening is adding additional, temporary seating.
On the track, athletes will contend for medals in all the major events: sprints, middle-distance runs, throwing events (discus, hammer, shot-put), jumping events (long, triple, high, etc), steeplechase and race walking.
The only medals not begin awarded in Kelowna are the multi-discipline events such as decathlon and heptathlon. In the interests of space and time, those championships are happening this weekend in Surrey.
There will also be a Special Olympics category, but Para-athletic events are not happening this year due to a participation shortage.
“We’re giving it some time to grow and develop,” Lenton said.
To learn more, visit bctrack.ca.
Here are a few of the athletes to watch at the BC School Sports Track and Field championships happening at the Apple Bowl in Kelowna, May 30-June 1:
Maple Ridge Senior Secondary
U.S. college scouts are already jumping at the 17-year-old, Grade 11 student who is the No. 1-ranked, under-20 high-jumper in Canada.
Frank Hurt Secondary (Surrey)
The Grade 12 sprinter leads the field in what could be a thrilling 100-metre final, with as many as four athletes expected to break 11 seconds. His best time this season has been 10.97, and he’s also clocked 22.04 in the 200.
Maple Ridge Senior Secondary
Her throw of 52.42 metres won gold at the under-20 Canadian track championships lasst year in Ottawa. She’ll attend University of North Carolina at Charlotte this fall on a track-and-field scholarship.
St. Michael’s University School
Swept the 100, 200 and 400 events at the Island championships earlier this month. Lenton said her 55.69 seconds this year is nearly unmatched in B.C. “Those are some of the best time in the entire country,” he said. Her 200 (24.96) and 400 (55.69) times are both Island records.