Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Friendly rivals aim for gold

Kelvin's Wright, Yankey top contenders in tetrathlon

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Kelvin High School's Borzah Yankey (left) and Kirk Wright have a friendly rivalry in the varsity boys tetrathlon.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Kelvin High School's Borzah Yankey (left) and Kirk Wright have a friendly rivalry in the varsity boys tetrathlon. Photo Store

Some of Winnipeg's best track and field athletes were on hand at a media conference hosted by the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association at Grant Park High School.

Tuesday's media event allowed for several of the most exceptional, up-and-coming athletes to be in the spotlight for the first time leading up to the 2014 MILK Provincial High School Track and Field Championships beginning Thursday.

Among notable athletes was a varsity boys competitor -- Kelvin's Kirk Wright. Wright competes in tetrathlon, a four-discipline event he claimed gold in last year and said he hopes to repeat.

"The pressure is on a little bit. I don't feel it too much, I've been in this situation before," said Wright, who also holds the junior varsity record in this event. "It's all about the mental game. You need to just go out there, have fun, try your hardest and if the results come, then they're going to come."

Wright will rely heavily on the 800-metre race to help get the most out of his point total. He said in order for him to get the most out of his strongest events, certain events like his shot put will not be as successful as he would like them to be.

The tetrathlon also includes the 100 metres and long jump.

Off the track, Wright is also one of Manitoba's best speedskaters and said he hasn't yet determined which sport he will focus on when he attends McGill University this fall on an academic scholarship.

Alongside Wright in the tetrathlon is fellow Clipper Borzah Yankey. The two competitors met in Grade 7 and have since found success through their friendly rivalry.

Yankey said he "choked" last year but expects a much better result this weekend.

"It's a bit of a rivalry but for them it's not because they're really good friends and they don't see it that way," said Clippers coach Tim Shynkaruk. "They're going to be pushing each other hard. They definitely both should medal."

One athlete who didn't have to go very far was Grant Park star Taylor Heald. Heald is in Grade 9 and began competing in junior varsity girls shot put and discus for her high school at the beginning of the school year.

She has since risen to become the No. 1-ranked youth female (under 17) shot putter in Canada with a personal best throw of 12.54 metres.

"I had no practising, I went out one day and threw a shot put, how hard could it be, right?" said Heald. "My coach saw me throw and asked if he could train me and I went out (to practice) and was good at it. So I just kept with it."

The status and achievement of No. 1 in Canada at her age hasn't sunk in yet, Heald said. She has a newfound passion for her sport and hopes the Olympics are a possibility one day, but right now she is focused on throwing 12.70 metres this weekend at the provincial championships.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 4, 2014 D4

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Updated on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 10:43 PM CDT: Fixes Heald's age/grade

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