Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Distance runner ready for start of busy track and field season

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HAD he begun the race on time, Stephen Dumontier might have been among the top finishers at the provincial high school cross-country championships last fall.

As it is, he didn't do too badly at all in the competition, which was held in Roblin.

"Our coach told the team that our race was the third one," says Dumontier, a Grade 12 student at Transcona Collegiate.

But the varsity boys' race, which was over a 5,000 metre course, was the second race scheduled that day.

"Once he told us it had actually begun, we started running anyway. We were quite far behind the others. We started catching up and passed a bunch of runners. I passed about 15 people and ended up in the top 25," says Dumontier, adding that teammate John Trenchard finished right behind him.

"It felt good running. It was different than when you're running with the leaders. I had more adrenaline pumping and so I wasn't as tired at the end."

Jason McKechnie, the school's cross-country coach, confirms Dumontier's dedication to the sport.

"He came in a close second in all the races in our division this year. He worked very hard in practice and races," he notes, adding that Transcona came second to Louis Riel Collegiate in the divisional finals last fall.

"He's extremely coachable and trains at a high level. He helps push the other kids (on the team) to be as good as they can be, too. He looks after them."

Gary Gerylo, head of physical education at the school, remarks that Dumontier is an all-round athlete.

"He demonstrates dedication and commitment to whatever he's doing. He doesn't quit when he starts something," says Gerylo.

Dumontier started running competitively while still in elementary school.

"In Grade 7, I came second in a 3,000-metres race at a provincial meet in Brandon," says the 5-foot-10, 130-pound runner. "Ever since then, I've been in the top two for my grade."

Besides cross-country, Dumontier also plays basketball and hockey and -- no surprise -- competes in track events.

"I've played basketball since Grade 7," he says, adding that he scored a personal high of 22 points this season in a game against divisional rival Nelson McIntrye Collegiate.

During the upcoming high school outdoor track and field season, Dumontier plans to run the 3,000 metres, 1,500 metres, the 800-metre portion of the medley relay and the 4 x 400-metre relay for his school. Two years ago, Dumontier placed fifth in the 3,000 metres in the junior varsity division at the high school provincial championships.

"Last year I was injured so I didn't compete in track events," he points out.

Despite Dumontier's success as a runner, his favourite sport is hockey.

Last season, he was a forward with the A-2 Transcona Vikings.

"I've played hockey since I was six. I find it a very exciting and a fast paced sport," says Dumontier, adding that he also played baseball for Park City Community Centre for five years.

"I've always like sports, and I sign up for everything. Next year, I'll see if I can get on a university cross-country team."

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 14, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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