Relaxed Lee serious about his jumping titles

GUELPH – For Adam Lee of the Ross Royals, Monday’s opening day of this year’s District 4/10 high school track and field championships was a little relaxed.

In the two previous high school meets held in Guelph this year, the Royal City Invitational at St. James April 25 and last week’s Gaels Relays at the University of Guelph, Lee had to dash from event to event as he competed in as many as he could fit on his schedule.

The D4/10 championships are different, though, as athletes are allowed to compete in a maximum of three individual events on top of the relays. Lee, who has competed in the 100 metres in the past, decided the jumping events would be for him.

That decision led to a pair of wins Monday, although he actually only competed in one.

He won the senior boys’ pole vault title by having the highest ranking among the two competitors entered. As both go on and there really isn’t a place to do pole vault at the St. James facility where the D4/10 meet is held, both Lee and Aidan Peet of the Bishop Macdonell Celtics gain berths in next week’s CWOSSA meet.

Lee’s other win was a dramatic one that drew quite a few other athletes over to watch as he took the senior boys’ high jump crown by clearing two metres.

“I’m 178 centimetres, or 5-foot-10,” he said shortly after celebrating his win. “I’m surprised for sure today. I thought that at the St. James track on the conditions we have to run on the 200 bend, there’s not a lot of space. You’ve got a five-step run-up. I was just hoping for good solid jumping today and a nice practice for CWOSSA. This is a big surprise on the PB today.”

While Lee is the defending D4/10 senior boys’ champion in high jump, he has a different approach to the event this season.

“The high jump’s been really good,” he said. “I just picked it up as kind of like a serious event recently,” he said. “I’ve been jumping for fun mostly, but now I’ve been getting pretty good at it and I wanted to take it seriously. Now it’s one of my D4/10 events.”

Lee is to compete in the long jump Tuesday in the final day of the D4/10 championships. At the earlier meets he also participated in the 100m, 100m hurdles, pole vault, shot put, javelin, triple jump and long jump.

“I picked up some more throwing events and I’ve been practising more,” he said. “Pole vault’s a new thing for me this year and I’ve been having a lot of fun with that. Mostly it’s just that it’s my last year of high school and I wanted to go out and have a lot of fun and I wanted to be smiling at the end of every day. I’m just doing what I love and that’s track and field.”

And he’s accomplished the goal of smiling at the end of each meet.

“I don’t think much has changed from last year in what I’ve done, it’s just more my attitude going into it,” he said. “I really appreciate all my teammates being here. I love cheering people on and I just love competing.”

He also enjoys helping others achieve goals in their chosen events. During the high jump, he gave tips to his Ross teammates and helped some of their opponents from other schools, too.

“I have a job at the Gryphon summer camp coaching little kids and I really love seeing people succeed and I love the drive of people who want to get better and thrive to do well in their performances,” Lee said.

Seeing others get enjoyment out of their performances can be contagious as it can also help Lee get enjoyment out of his performances.

“I get really excited,” he said. “Especially when I saw my teammate there (Andrew Church). He’s been jumping for a month and he jumped over his own head and that really got me excited. I’m really happy for him and Ethan Edwards also PBd.”

Church cleared 1.70m to finish fifth and Edwards cleared 1.60m to place seventh.

Lee and other top finishers at the D4/10 meet advance to the CWOSSA championship meet at Cambridge’s Jacob Hespeler Secondary School May 23 and 24.

“My three events have felt really solid recently,” he said. “Considering today with the conditions, I’m really happy where high jump’s going. At the last meets, long jump and pole vault are going really well, too. I just hope to be consistent and perform solidly all throughout the season up to OFSAA.”

The D4/10 championships conclude Tuesday.

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