Paige Vrolyk has landed on the track and field podium several times already this season, but the St. Patrick’s tenth-grader is really a Jill-of-all-trades.
You could point to her impressive academic record, or her theatrical talents in the Nightingale Chorus, an annual Christmas music performance she’s been cast in the past five years.
She is also a high-performance varsity cross country runner, and was one of just 24 players in Ontario selected for the elite Tall Maple Volleyball camp.
Over the past couple of weeks, though, the 16-year-old has posted some of the top track and field results at the Southwestern Ontario, regional, and Ontario track and field championships.
Despite a brutal headwind, Vrolyk took gold in both the long jump and triple jump atSWOSSAA, and
then ran a 25.97 in the 200-metre dash to win bronze.
Joined by her St. Pat’s teammates, Vrolyk took her winning streak to Western University for the OFSAA regionals on May 27-28. There she won a pair of silver medals while recording a personal best 5.11M in long jump and 10.95M in triple jump.
Vrolyk continued her outstanding season at the OFSAA provincial championships in Belleville this month, earning a bronze in triple jump with a personal-best of 11.04M.
Being a sprinter and jumper makes sense because they require similar skill sets, she said.
“When you get out of the blocks you need power. And when you start your jump, you need power,” she said. “But you need to have good speed on the runway.”
Vrolyk realized she had a knack for jumping after doing at meets in elementary school.
“They kind of just put you in spots and you kind of do what you’re told,” she said.
Track competitions are exciting but they are also a place to make new friendships, she said.
“It’s a nice community of girls and it’s nice talking to them on the sidelines afterwards. You recognize them from other places.”
Under the guidance of St. Pat’s coaches Dave Howson and Cindy Morrison, Vrolyk devotes herself to daily practices and has developed a mature perspective on training.
“It’s good for my body, it’s good for my health, it’s fun,” she said. “Sometimes you feel like you just want to crash and go home but in the long run it’s going to pay off.”
Vrolyk said it’s too early to think seriously about where her many interests will take her. Right now it’s all about experiencing and enjoying different activities.
“I just like having fun and I like the feeling of when I do it. I enjoy myself when I’m jumping.”