By Larry Moko
It was an important race featuring friendly head-to-head competition between two talented sisters from St. Thomas More.
The senior girls’ 800-metre final at the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference high school track and field championships Friday saw Olivia Dodds positioned directly beside her sister Amelia at the start line.
From the innermost lanes of the track they immediately burst to the head of the pack on the first lap and then jockeyed for position with each other on the bell lap.
At the wire, Amelia finished first in two minutes, 16.64 seconds, while Olivia’s second-place time was 2:18.06.
The top five finishers in each GHAC event advance to the South Regional championships May 26-27 in St. Catharines.
The Dodds are both members of the Monte Cristo Track Club. At the high school level, each has previously represented the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association at OFSAA for cross-country.
“I’ve been doing track for five years, so I’m used to all the (club) competition,” Amelia said. “Normally, she beats me. So it’s nice, I guess, to beat her. It’s always very close.”
On opening day of GHAC, Amelia and Olivia each won separately in other events. Olivia raced to victory in the 1500m while Amelia picked up gold at the 400m distance.
“Running with my sister is never an unhealthy competition,” Olivia said. “We always help each other. We’re used to running against each other so it’s not foreign to us.”
Olivia, who is a year older than Amelia, signed on last January for a full track scholarship to Boston University beginning in August.
“They are dominating,” More track coach Herbert Stewart said of the Dodds duo. “We didn’t have any worries they would be 1-2. We expect them to go all the way to OFSAA this year.”
In describing the 800m final, Amelia said: “I wanted to get out fast, be in the lead and control the race. But then (Olivia) had a bit more energy. I just wanted to stay behind her. I know I have a strong kick towards the end so I used that for my advantage.”
Olivia expressed satisfaction with the final result. “I ran good today considering I’m just coming back from an injury,” she said. (Amelia) has much more strength right now.”
In addition to the Dodds contribution, Stewart watched as More’s relay teams continued to excel. The Knights captured first-place finishes in both the junior boys (47.50 seconds) and senior boys 4x100m relays (45.16).
“At St. Thomas More we concentrate on the relays,” Stewart said. “We pride ourselves on our relays.
“We were five out of six. The only ones that didn’t qualify for us for regionals were our junior girls. And they were sixth. They just missed.
The overall GHAC team title went to the Bishop Ryan Celtics. BR won the boys’ division with 300.66 points and the girls section with 203.5.
Other individual winners from Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic schools on the final day of the meet included Chloe Seiler of Bishop Tonnos in the novice girls 800m (2:35.68); J’Noy Davis of Bishop Ryan in the senior boys’ 200m, (22.44); Nolan Schmid of Bishop Ryan in the novice boys’ 300m hurdles; Kendry Georges of Bishop Ryan in the senior boys’ 400m hurdles (1:03.47); Jacob Finlay of St. Mary in the novice boys’ 200m (24.09); Miguel Fernandez of Bishop Ryan in the senior boys’ discus (30.83m); Morgan Coffell of Bishop Ryan in the senior girls’ discus (21.56m); Austin Eason of Bishop Ryan in the novice boys’ discus (26.88m); Ella De Almeida of Bishop Ryan in the novice girls’ discus (22.10m); Aaron Popal of Bishop Ryan in the junior boys’ shot put (10.13m); Curtis Bell of St. Thomas More in the novice boys’ shot put (12.63m); Josiah Bowen of More in the senior boys’ shot put (11.73m); Hailey Reid of St. Mary in the senior girls’ 200m (25.88).
The Bishop Tonnos Titans also got the gold in the novice boys’ 4x100m relay while the Bishop Ryan Celtics took top honours in the senior girls’ 4x100m relay.