Urniezius wins three gold 0
Submitted photo... Curtis Urniezius won three gold medals at the MHSAA provincials in Selkirk over the weekend.
Curtis Urniezius from St. Paul's Collegiate in Elie had better clear out some room on his trophy mantle.
The Grade 12 student was named the varsity boys' athlete of the meet after winning three gold medals at the MHSAA track and field provincials in Selkirk over the weekend. For his performance, he was also named the MHSAA's rural athlete of the week.
Urniezius topped all comers in the discus (41.78 m), shot put (15.63 m) and javelin (52.24 m) events. In the process, he set a new shot put record by downing the 15.15 m mark set by Arborg's Terrell Weik in 2006.
Urniezius entered the season hoping to get gold in all three events after taking silver in the shot put and bronze in each the discus and javelin in 2011.
"My first reaction was that I didn't think that I actually did it," said Urniezius. "I've wanted to do it all year, and I knew that it was possible."
As for the shout put record, Urniezius said there was a marker of the record distance during warmup that was removed for competition. He said he wasn't close during his first few attempts, so he put it out of his mind.
"My third attempt, I didn't know if it was over the record or just right by it. As soon as they said how far it was, I didn't really believe them," said Urniezius.
Aside from the record, the Grade 12 student said he was thrilled with his development at the javelin throw.
"Over the last year and a half, I was really struggling to throw anything over 50 m," said Urniezius. "Technique (was the difference) - I worked on it the last couple weeks making sure everything was a lot better.
"And confidence, just having to deal with the pressure of coming in as sort of a favourite and I came out doing what I thought I was capable."
Cold and rainy weather played a part in the discus competition, where athletes get three throws to get one shot in the top eight to advance to the finals. Urniezius nearly didn't get a chance after his first two attempts didn't go as planned.
"The circle was really slippery and it was really hard to hold onto the disc," said Urniezius. "I fouled my first throw and my second one put me in 10th place because it slipped out of my hand"
"Going into the third round with all the rain and all the pressure, to put myself into a place where I got three more throws was huge."
Urniezius said going into that throw, he was hoping to just get in one shot that counted and was good enough to advance him to the final.
Urniezius said there was plenty of pressure on him from those assuming he could handle the conditions no matter what, and also from wanting to live up to what past competitors have accomplished. He recalled saying that pressure usually got to him in the past, but he was able to get through it this time around.
"Over the last little while, I haven't been able to deal with that kind of pressure. It always gets to me and I get very nervous," said Urniezius. "This competition was different. I was still nervous, but I used it to help me, probably for the first time ever.
"It was a nervous that I knew I could do it, it was just a matter of doing it when I needed to. I was expecting to do well. The nerves just held me back from going for it.
"In the shot put, in between throws, I could feel my heart was beating like crazy. I was nervous that the nerves were going to get to me, that I wasn't going to be able to do anything about it, bit I ended up pulling through for sure."
Next up, Urniezius will move to Lethbridge, Alta. in September to work with Athletics Canada coach Larry Steinke and work to achieve his Olympic dream.
Though Urniezius was the only local medalist, several other local athletes had solid showings in their respective finals.
Westpark's Danica Smith was fourth in the junior varsity girls' 200m dash in a time of 27.15.
Competing against Urniezius, MacGregor's Connor Anderson was fifth in the varsity boys' shot put with a toss of 13.24 m.
Portage Collegiate Institute's Harlie Poschenrieder was sixth in the varsity girls' 800 m dash in a time of 2:28.55. Schoolmate Royden Wollman was eighth in the junior varsity long jump with a 5.53 m result. As well, PCI's Mark Belinsky was 15th in the junior varsity boys' 3000m run with a 10:34.51 time, while St. Claude's Jordan Ricard was 24th with an 11:27.41 result. In the junior varsity girls' 3000 m race, PCI's Amy Francis was 16th with a 12:16.72 showing.
Meanwhile, two locals competed in the junior varsity tetrathlon. St. Claude's Nathan Mazurat was 12th in the long jump at 4.64 m, seventh in the 800 m run at 2:28.38, fourth in the shot put at 11.52 m and 16th in the 100 m dash at 14.82. Mazurat also competed in the junior varsity shot put independent of the tetrathlon and finished 11th at 11.87 m.
As well, MacGregor's Taylor Boehlig participated in the tetrathlon. Boehlin was eighth in the long jump at 3.74 m, eighth in the 800 m at 2:51.70, fifth in the 100 m dash at 14.82. However, her shot put results were not available.
Other local athletes who competed were: Natasha Burton and Logan Lambert (PCI), James Mondry, Kendra Dyck, Julien Leduc, and Conner Roy (St. Claude), Kelly Rintoul, Chris Single, Jessica Manns, Carson Rogers, Colton Hawley, and Connor Nichol (MacGregor), MacKenzie Sollner, Owen Sollner, and Tanner Peters (William Morton Collegiate), Josh Stanley and Caleb Solomon (Westpark).