Comin of Ross soars to new OFSAA pole vault record

GUELPH – Maura Comin of the Ross Royals missed his school’s athletic banquet last night, likely the only one he’ll ever get to attend.

He probably didn’t know what was going on at the banquet held in the school’s auditorium, but the people there certainly knew what he was up to at the OFSAA provincial high school championship meet a few kilometres away at Alumni Stadium.

With the crowd cheering him on, Comin set a new meet record in winning the midget boys’ pole vault. He moved the mark from the 3.75 metres set in 2012 to 3.76 metres.

“I’m excited,” he said right after being presented with his gold medal. “I’m really excited – a new record.”

Comin waited about an hour and a half before making his first vault as the field of 22 whittled itself down.

“That’s really tough to do,” he said. “Very tough. I was just trying to hype myself up, saying ‘You’ve got this. Come on.’”

He passed on six heights before clearing 2.90 metres. He then passed at 3.00 and took two attempts at 3.10, clearing his second one. He then cleared 3.20, 3.30 and 3.40 on his only attempt at each height and won the provincial title when he cleared his second attempt at 3.50.

After that it was strictly about getting an OFSAA record as he had the bar moved to 3.76. He cleared his second attempt at the height to become the new record holder.

After clearing that distance, he decided not to mess around and had the bar raised to 3.90. While he cleared 3.81 to win OFSAA West last week, he knocked the bar off at all three attempts at 3.90 Thursday.

“I was pretty tired so I just wanted to get a new PB (personal best) so I went for 3.90 to make it harder to do,” he said.

If Comin’s parents stayed up to watch the competition online, they would’ve been up to 1:30 a.m. to see it. Comin will celebrate with them when he next sees them in about three weeks’ time. An exchange student from Spain, he’ll be flying home when the rest of the country is celebrating Canada Day.

“My brother (Bruno) was here four years ago and he told me this was a great experience and everything,” Comin said.

While Comin had been competing in pole vault in his home country, he credited coach James Sniatenchuk with his improvement here. His best vault at home had been 3.23 metres.

“It is all him, all him,” Comin said. “My technique, everything has improved.”

Pole vault was one of three reasons he said for coming to Canada in the first place.

“(I came here) to learn English, meet some new friends and practise pole vault,” he said. That he’s learned most of his English in the 10 months he’s been here isn’t noticeable.

Comin also credits his brother Bruno for getting him involved in pole vault.

“My parents never pole vaulted – never did track before,” Mauro said. “My brother started doing pole vault three years ago and I saw him and said ‘Oh, that’s cool. I want to try that.’”

And the most enjoyable thing about pole vault?

“You fly,” he beams as he replies. “You fly when you’re up there. It’s cool.”

Comin almost didn’t make it to the OFSAA meet as he battled an injury problem two and a half weeks ago at CWOSSA.

“At CWOSSA, I was in hurdles, but I pulled my hamstring,” he said. “I could barely run. I did one jump and I got a podium and I qualified for OFSAA West.”

That one jump was 2.75 metres, good for the gold, and he also decided that he’d better forget about hurdles.

“I’ve gone to physio four or five times and it’s gotten better,” he said of the injury. “And I put everything into pole vault.”

Comin isn’t expected to come back to Guelph next school year.

“For now it’s just a one-year thing,” he said. “But we’ll see.”

In other events that awarded medals Thursday, Abbey Prilesnik of Ross was 12th in junior girls’ triple jump with a best leap of 10.63 metres while Meah O’Donnell of Bishop Macdonell was 19th at 10.48.

Danielle Akyeampong of St. James was 13th in junior girls’ discus. Her best throw was 28.97 metres.

In other events that were qualifiers for Friday finals, Brock McKenzie of Lourdes was the fastest qualifier in the open boys’ 2,000-metre steeplechase as he won his heat in 6:08.08 to qualify for the final. Also getting through was Adam Schmidt of Guelph CVI as he was fifth in the second heat at 6:15.37. Athletes who finished in the top four in each of the two heats and those with the next four fastest times qualified for the final.

Dianne Deboer of Emmanuel Christian of Fergus qualified for the final in the junior girls’ 400 metres with a time of 59.42 seconds in Thursday’s heats. Top two in each of three heats plus the next two fastest times grabbed spots in the final. She finished 1/100th behind the second-place finisher in her heat, but advanced as one of the two next-fastest-times qualifiers.

Tennessee Tremain of GCVI is to compete in the junior boys’ 1500m final after finishing second in his heat with the third fastest time. Tremain was timed in 4:10.61. He’s also to run in the 3000m final Saturday.

Haley Davis of Ross qualified for the senior girls’ 1500m final after finishing fifth in her heat with a time of 4:40.67. She got through as one of the next four fastest qualifiers as her heat was faster than the first heat. Her time would’ve been good for second in the other heat, 1/100th behind the winner. Sarah-Rose Sullivan of Orangeville was 15th at 4:48.12.

Tiana LoStracco of St. James finished 10th overall in the senior girls’ 400 metres heats in a time of 57.42 seconds. She was third in her heat. LoStracco will be back on the track Saturday in the 800m, her specialty.

Richard Davis of Lourdes placed 15th overall in the senior boys’ 400m in a time of 49.57 seconds. He’s to run in the 200m Saturday.

Katya Vanderberg of Centennial had the 15th fastest time in the midget girls’ 1500m. She had a time of 5:03.15 while Chantal Channing of Orangeville was 18th at 5:05.34 and Ella Farrelly of St. James was 20th at 5:12.69. Vandenberg is to run in Saturday’s 3000m.

The meet continues Friday and concludes Saturday with competitions starting at 9 a.m.


  • Guelph Sports Journal