Logan Hughes and Ben Visser competing in the zones in Smithers. (Photo courtesy of Barton Hughes)

Prince Rupert Middle School track team headed to provincials for the first time

They will also be joined by the junior and senior athletes from Charles Hays Secondary School

Prince Rupert Middle School athletes, Logan Hughes and Ben Visser, are the first two boys to ever compete provincially for PRMS Storm.

Hughes and Visser both won in the zone competition held in Smithers – spanning from Houston to Haida Gwaii – two weeks ago.

Logan Hughes (left) and Ben Visser (right) competed in the zone track meet in Smithers, qualifying for provincials in Kelowna, a first for JRMS. (Photo courtesy of Barton Hughes)

Four boys and two girls competed on behalf of the middle school and 11 athletes represented the juniors and seniors for the Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS) Rainmakers, totaling 17 students competing in the zones for Prince Rupert.

Hughes placed first in the 400- and 800-metre sprint as well as the 100-metre hurdles. He then placed second in the 100- and 200-metre sprint, high and long jumps, 200-metre hurdles, and discus. Finally, he placed third in javelin.

“I’ve never really been in a really big track meet before. The best part was reaching my personal best and making new friends with other athletes,” he said.

Hughes reached his personal best in the zone competition, reaching five metres 10 centimetres in the high jump and one metre 55 centimetres for the long jump. He has been attending school track meets since Grade 2 but this was his first time competing away from home against other schools.

Logan Hughes competing in the zone track meet in Smithers, placing second for the high jump and qualifying for provincials in Kelowna. (Photo courtesy of Barton Hughes)

Visser broke the 1983 high jump record [see side bar] and last year’s 200-metre hurdle record, placing first in both competitions along with the 100- and 200-sprints and the long jump. He placed second in javelin and 100-metre hurdles and third in javelin.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert Middle School athlete breaks northwest high jump record

Dighton Haynes has been coaching track and field for the past 38 years, but has only been in Prince Rupert for the last 11. He said that when PRMS was created after Prince Rupert Senior Secondary amalgamated with CHSS, there was no will for the school to send their students to compete. Previous to this year, PRMS students have only competed in the zones twice.

Barton Hughes, assistant to Haynes, said that last year he introduced the coach to the PRMS athletes. They have been getting Grade 7 students involved even though that are only allowed to compete in their own track meets, so they can develop a strong team in the years to come.

“I see growth in the program. It’s that type of thing that keeps me coming back each year. When I can see that growth,” said Haynes.

The Grade 8 boys are not the only one who saw success at the zones.

Junior Dakota Knockwood — first in 100- and 200- metre sprints, long and high jumps, discus and shot put — will also be competing in the provincials. Knockwood broke last year’s shot put record at 10.28 metres. Also competing with the seniors is Eric Lees — first in 100- and 200-metre sprints and second in high and long jumps.

Provincials begin Thursday in Kelowna. Haynes said as long as they can continue beating their personal best, they are all going home winners, first place is just a bonus.

READ MORE: Records fall at northwest B.C. track and field zones

Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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