Cobras to represent Alberta at national track meet
The Cochrane Cobras ladies track team is set to test its skill at the national level.
The Cobras were one of two teams chosen to represent Alberta at the Nike High School Grand Prix, a Canadian invitational track meet that is being held in Toronto May 9 to 12.
The Cobras, under the guidance of its track coach, Esther Sieben, submitted an application to the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association (ASAA), a letter detailing why they should be chosen to participate in the meet. The idea came about after Sieben spoke with a coach from Glendon, who took his team to last year’s inaugural meet.
“He said it was the most amazing experience to represent your province,” Sieben said. “It’s not a national championship, but you’re competing against people from all over the country. It’s a great honour and we’re so excited.”
According to Mark Harrison, president of TrojanOne, the meet’s marketing manager, the provincial governing sport bodies were required to choose one girls team and one boys to represent the province based on “merits of sportsmanship, excellence in sport and dedication to academics.”
The idea for the track meet was Harrison’s brain child and was inspired by conversations with Nike Canada, who expressed a desire to promote track and field in high schools.
“Last year’s event was a great success,” he said. “Nothing like it currently exists in Canada. We were able to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our athletes. For some kids it was their first time leaving their hometown, their first trip to Toronto and their first time on a plane.”
Sieben is taking 13 Grade 10 and 11 athletes to the meet. Grade 12s were invited, but the track meet coincides with Cochrane High School’s graduation weekend. The meet will be held at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium and includes all of the standard track events, from sprints, hurdles and field events.
Sieben said the theme of Cochrane’s application was about promoting sports that would allow female athletes from the town to travel with.
“There’s a lot of opportunities for football players in Cochrane,” Sieben said. “They do a lot of travelling around Alberta and to the States and the girls said ‘what girls sports do a lot of travelling?’ We don’t a football program for girls, but we have a female track team.
“These girls are all very diverse. Some are in band, some take Advanced Placement course, some are volleyball and soccer players and in theatre production, but they’re commonality is track. They all love to run, jump and throw.”
The team is currently fundraising for the trip, which includes a banquet for all of the athletes and an opportunity to tour Toronto. The money-raising endeavours include catalogue sales and selling pink mittens, where 50 per cent of price goes to the team and the other half goes to the Breast Cancer Foundation.
Sieben is hoping the trip to Toronto will be a memorable one for the team and gives them another sport option to pursue past high school.
“I think the overall experience and bonding is going to serve our whole track team better at Provincials and serve them in a sense that maybe it’s an option to help them apply for scholarships,” she said.
“We have a very successful track team. I think in the 20 years we’ve been going to Divisionals, we’ve won the overall title 16 times. I think part of why we were chosen is the successful athletes we have. They put a lot of effort into that letter and I’m very proud of them.”
Airdrie Koinonia Christian School is the second team representing Alberta at the meet.