Northern athletes medal at all-Ontario track and field championships

Jessica Cooper and Ryan Davies of Northern Collegiate both won gold at the OFSAA Championships in Toronto. Cooper won the Junior Girls high jump title and Davies took the Open Boys 2,000-metre steeplechase. Submitted photo.

Tara Jeffrey

It pays to try something new. Just ask Northern Collegiate’s Ryan Davies and Jessica Cooper, who each struck gold at the all-Ontario high school track and field championships.

“Our coach asked if some of us wanted to try the steeplechase,” Davies, 17, said of the obstacle race involving barriers and water jumps.

“So I tried it for the first time a month before OFSAA.”

In fact, Davies was the top seed heading into the Open Boys 2,000-metre steeplechase at the provincials held June 2 to 4 in Toronto. He took gold in a time of 6:02.76.

“It’s just nice to be back competing, and a great experience,” he said, noting OFSAA’s absence during the pandemic.

The Davies’ are experts in distance running; brother Andrew earned silver in the Men’s 5,000-metre race at the Ontario Track & Field Championships earlier this month, representing McMaster University and the Harbour Track Club.

Meanwhile, Northern’s Jessica Cooper out-jumped the competition at 1.55-metres to win gold in Junior Girls’ high jump.

High jump has been eliminated from elementary school competition, so Grade 10 student decided to try it for the first time.

“I figured my height might help me out a bit,” she said. “Thought I’d give it a shot and see where it took me.”

Cooper said the experience at OFSAA was incredible. Her fellow Vikings also won bronze medals in the Junior Girls 4×100 relay and the Open Girls 4×400 relay events.

“It kind of brought back the spirit of what track is all about,” she said. “A lot of us hadn’t done it in two years.

“You could really see peoples’ spirits being lifted.”

The Northern Collegiate Open Girls 4×400 relay team won bronze at the OFSAA Championships. From left are: Meghan Harris, Kaitlyn Handy, Avery Robinson, and Mikayla Portiss. Submitted Photo