Winning has been the trend with the MSS Panthers and the Track and Field Okanagan Championships proved no different. Both Michaela Nicholls and Timothy Scholtens finished in the top three among their respective events. Their high ranking now ensures them a spot at the Provincials this week in Langley.

Timothy Scholtens placed second in the 100m hurdles event, punching his ticket to Langley.

“I’m just can’t believe I made it to Provincials in my first year,” said Scholtens.

“This is my first year doing hurdles and I’ve only trained three and a half weeks for it.”

Scholtens recorded an 18.06 seconds record at the Okanagans, placing him second at the rankings. Not to shabby for the young athlete who is in his first season of track. Prior to this year, track and field season was canceled due to COVID restrictions.

“This year, in my first practice, I was doing both the 100 and 200m dash, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to qualify for those,” said Scholtens.

“I decided to do hurdles since both my brother and my cousin made it to Provincials with hurdles a few years ago. I would definitely like to follow my brother since he was pretty good and he could definitely give me pointers and tips while doing it.”

Aside from COVID, there were other hurdles that the young athlete had to overcome in order to be successful this season. The flooding event of November 2021 had left Voght Park in ruins, taking away the Panthers’ training grounds.

“I couldn’t train a lot and I don’t have any hurdles at home but Mr. Sheldon helped by borrowing hurdles from Kamloops,” Scholtens explained.

“My coach has definitely been a big help along the way. He’s encouraged me and has put in a lot of work to help me make it to Provincials.”

Amazingly, Scholtens has been a strong finisher at the 100m hurdles event, consistently placing second in all of his meets.

“Jumping was definitely a challenge,” Scholtens explained. “Being able to get over hurdles at a decent speed was really hard because I have never practiced it before. I was hitting a lot of hurdles.”

Scholtens is very happy at how his season is shaping up. Considering that hurdles was a last minute event he decided to join, everything turned out great. In preparation for the June 9 meet, Scholtens is fine tuning his technique.

“I’m currently focused on my own performance,” said Scholtens.

“I’m focused on getting better at going over the hurdles, being more explosive, popping faster after first touching the ground.”

The journey this grade 10 athlete had this season is exciting him for next year where he intends to try out the long jump event, along with the hurdles and 100 and 200m dash.

“I can definitely improve a lot more since it was only my first year,” Scholtens said. “I have been training quite a bit and I hope to continue training and get better as I have two more years to go.”

Moving to another Panther that is making noise on the track, Michaela Nicholls has placed first at the 400m dash with a record time of 65.28 seconds. She also finished third in the 200m dash with a 29.18 second finish. She will be moving on to the provincials because of these impressive results.

These types of performances are not new to this grade 10 panther. In the West Zone Championships, Nicholls broke the record for the 400m dash with a time of 65.04 seconds beating Meaghan Kujat previously held record of 67.81.

“I definitely didn’t think I would break the record,” said Nicholls “I was really surprised and my coach didn’t tell me until a little bit after.”

Nicholls said that this season is her first time back to track and field since elementary and her first time ever competing at the high school level.

“I’m really happy I did track this year because I was busy with work and other things,” Nicholls explained.

“My coach asked me if I was doing it this year and I’m glad that I said yes because i forgot how much I loved it.”

The Provincials will take place from June 9 to 11 and as these two young athletes head to Langley, they are further cementing a very strong spring season of sports for Merritt Secondary School.