Though expectations differed, the Sudbury and area contingent returned from the Canadian Olympic Track and Field Trials in Calgary reasonably content. None moreso than Espanola triple jumper Caroline Ehrhardt, who helped salvage a so-so season with a gold medal performance on Saturday.
Even more encouraging than defending her title in the event was the fact that she established a personal best, soaring 12.94 metres, well ahead of second place finisher and University of Western Ontario teammate Alecia Smith.
The day's longest jump actually belonged to Grenadian record-holder Patricia Sylvestre, who recorded a jump of 13.41 metres but does not qualify for a win at nationals based on non-citizenship.
Ehrhardt's new PB came on her fourth jump, adding a leap of 12.84 metres on her final attempt as well.
Meanwhile, Sudbury native Ross Proudfoot qualified, as he had hoped, for the men's 1,500-m final in his first trip to Senior Nationals, finishing 10th in the 12-man field with a time of 3:54.50.
Considering the event was being held at altitude in Calgary and that the final turned out to be a highly tactical affair, Proudfoot was pleased, even if his time in the final was somewhat slower than the 3:50.60 he ran in qualifying in the semifinal rounds on Thursday.
Track North Athletic Club sprinter Ashley Huard was also making her first appearance at the event, posting a time of 12.11 in the 100-m dash and placing 17th in the grouping of 22 women.
Huard, an 18-year-old student at Ecole Secondaire Hanmer who has garnered OFSAA medals in each of the past two years, could not match her personal best time of 11.88, a mark which would have put her right in the thick of things in terms of qualifying for the final.
Finally, despite qualifying with the fastest preliminary time of 1:49.28 in the men's 800-m race, Confederation Secondary graduate Andrew Ellerton could do no better than a third place finish in the final.
The local entry with the most realistic chance, coming into 2012, of cracking the Olympic team roster, Ellerton finished third in a tightly packed final, crossing the line in 1:46.86. Geoffrey Harris (1:46.49) and Nate Brannen (1:46.74) finished just ahead of the Track North representative, with Harris earning the nod for London, while Brannen will run the 1,500-m event at the Olympic Games.
Posted by Laurel Myers