Carly PARACHOLSKI certainly turned some heads last weekend at the Howard Woods Dakota Relays in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The 16-year-old Sisler High School runner finished second in the fastest 800-metre high school race in the United States this year, with a time of two minutes, 8.25 seconds.
"I'm pretty excited because it was a personal best and I hadn't run a fast 800 for a long time, so I just wanted to go hard and see how fast I could do it," Paracholski said.
Paracholski couldn't exactly put her finger on why she ran so fast, but said, "It's a pretty big crowd there compared to what we get in Manitoba, so there was all the more pressure and incentive. Also the girl (Laura Roeseler, of Fargo South) was like, the fastest in the state, so just wanting to keep up with her kind of pushed me.
"She went to the Olympic trials when she was 16 and made it to the semifinals." Roeseler ran a 2:05.76 and Shelby Houlihan of SC East, Iowa, was third in 2:08.58.
"The winner and the third-place finisher have the top two times by American high school girls this year," Sisler coach John Iwanski said. "Both of them have accepted full athletic scholarships to the University of Oregon."
Paracholski beat Nancy Rettie's Manitoba youth record of 2:09.1, which had stood since 1979. She also holds the youth records in the 200 (24.51), and 400 (54.95).
"I have never coached anybody with her kind of range," Iwanski said. "She can be a provincial champion at the 100 metres and provincial champion in the 3,000 or 1,500 if she wanted to. In fact, she started out as a 1,500 runner when she came here."
Comparing the high school provincials here to the state championships down south, Paracholski said, "At provincials here, you want to perform your best, but down there it's a lot more intense and there's better competition. It's also a lot more organized."
Looking past the provincials June 10-12, Paracholski plans to compete at the Canadian junior championships the first weekend in July at Moncton, N.B., where she hopes to qualify for the world junior championships, also in Moncton, three weeks later. "She is definitely one of the kids who could be considered for that team," Iwanski said. "She has already run the standards in the 400 and 800."
"But you have to finish in the top two at the Canadians to qualify for the world championships," Paracholski added.
The Sisler track team has a meet this weekend in Portage la Prairie as it works towards the provincials at the University of Manitoba Stadium.