Several Langley athletes medaled earlier this month in the Fraser Valley championships in Abbotsford, some earning a spot at this weekend’s provincials. (Black Press files)

BC High school track championships keep coming back to Langley

There will be 2,400 athletes, 400 coaches, and countless supporters in Langley this weekend.

The best of the best high school track and field athletes from throughout the province are converging on Langley this week.

Langley, and specifically the McLeod Athletic Park (MAP), are a preferred location for the BC High School Track and Field (BCTF) Championships that are happening Thursday through Saturday.

While the local track and most of its competition amenities are pretty standard, it’s the covered stadium and media booth used for staging, as well as the jumbotron that keep organizer Andrew Lenton and the team from the BCTF’s commission coming back to Langley again and again.

“The media tower makes a great staging area for the event, for us, from an organizational perspective,” he said.

“But the feedback we get from the spectators is that the jumbotron is something they’re really wanting to keep, so we’ve come back here.”

He said the Township’s parks and rec staff have been “great to deal with.” And the commission’s long-standing relationship with the Langley Mustangs track and field club has made it possible to facilitate “an event of this magnitude” year after year.

“It’s a really great facility. The Township of Langley is great to work with, their parks and rec. The facilities are great,” said Lenton, who is assistant coach at Maple Ridge Secondary and commissioner for the B.C. High School Track & Field Commission.

In addition to complimenting parks and rec, he said partnering with the Langley Mustangs track and field club to facilitate an event of this magnitude has been key.

“It’s just a massive event,” Lenton said Wednesday afternoon from MAP.

It’s one of the largest high school competitions of any kind in the country, comparable only to the Ontario track and field event, he said.

It will be a full house, added Lenton, noting that once again there will be 2,400 students from 335 high school throughout the province competing.

“We cap out. We limit and restrict who can come into the championships,” he explained. “There’s many thousands and thousands more who have not been as lucky as to qualify or get a berth into the championships.”

In addition to all the athletes expected, there are another 400 coaches, and countless parents and supporters coming to Langley this weekend.

“This is a huge undertaking,” Lenton told the Langley Advance, explaining that these annual championships takes more than a year of prep time to arrange.

Speaking to that, he and the other commission directors started preparing for 2019’s competition last summer.

The championships are primarily held within the Lower Mainland, because of facilities and logistics.

Only on rare occasions does it get moved to the Island or Interior.

It was hosted at the Apple Bowl in Kelowna in 1972, and Nanaimo in 2015, Lenton recalled. But he confirmed it will be back in Kelowna again next year, and he’s already making plans for their return to Langley in 2020.

This is year six for Lenton at the helm.

“I thought I would do it for one year, and somehow I’m finding myself in year six. I don’t know how that happened,” he said.

It’s primarily the calibre of athletes he sees participating year after year, and their insatiable quest to better themselves, that keeps him coming back.

This year’s competition includes 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1,500-metre races, long jump, shot put, high jump, javelin, triple jump, steeplechase, race walking, discus, and hammer for students Grade 8 through 12.

“This really is, in terms of high school track and field competition, as good as it gets,” he said.

“In fact, We have some of the best athletes in the world competing,” he added, encouraging sports enthusiasts to watch the performances.

“They’re going to be exciting,” Lenton said of the various showdowns. “For a lot of the kids, this is what they’ve been practicing and training for months and months.”

While Thursday’s action runs from 3 to about 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday are full days. Friday will see meets and competitions running from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to about 5 p.m.

That’s long days, Lenton admitted. But to make it more palatable for spectators, most of the finals have been arranged between about 2 and 5 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.

“We’ve loaded in all the finals in those times,” or at least as many as they could accommodate.

More information: www.bctfa.ca.

 

Several Langley athletes medaled earlier this month in the Fraser Valley championships in Abbotsford, some earning a spot at this weekend’s provincials. (Black Press files)

Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

Shag Creek area under evacuation order, area expanded

93 properties are being told to evacuate immediately

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Thousands prepare to leave their homes at a moment’s notice

Northwest B.C. and Cariboo seeing most fire activity in province as crews battle 490 fires

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Northern B.C. residents face more evacuation orders as some smoke clears up

Regional District of BulkleyNechako issued new, expanded evacuation orders for remote areas Saturday

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

Most Read