By Melissa Novacaska
Luca Nicoletti finished off his school year on a high note, as he became a double-medallist at this year’s Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Championships for track and field.
The event, which took place from June 6 to 8 at the University of Guelph, saw Nicoletti capture the gold medal in the men’s 100m hurdles midget division, with a time of 13.69 seconds, and the silver medal in the men’s 300m hurdles midget division, in a race he ran in 39.47 seconds.
Not only was this the first time the Grade 9 student from École secondaire catholique Paul- Desmarais attended the provincial high school championships, but it was the first time his school medaled at the highest meet in the province.
When chatting with the Ottawa Sportspage, the 15-year-old shared positives about his Championships experience.
“[I feel] pretty good, [it was] exciting because it was my first time at OFSAA, and it’s pretty crazy,” Nicoletti said about his results.
On top of placing well with hurdles, Nicoletti also finished 10th overall in the 100m dash.
While competing at the high-level competition, Nicoletti remembers having to keep his emotions in check.
“It was kind of scary seeing the big crowd and everyone there, but after my first race it became a lot easier and it became more exciting than scary,” Nicoletti said.
Nicoletti, an athlete for both his high school’s Patriotes team and with the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club, said training for the championships was “pretty fun.” His regiment consisted of warming up with some cardio with running for roughly 15 minutes, stretching, hurdle exercises, sprinting starts and working on his form.
Nicoletti says he’s been with the Lions since around March but has ran track with his school’s teams since he was in Grade 7. He explained more as to why he decided to get into track and field in the first place.
“I kind of run fast. I enjoy it, it’s fun and I started seeing my friend doing it and I went to the club with him and I enjoyed it a lot, so I decided to sign up this year for the school team,” Nicoletti said.
Throughout the year, Nicoletti also plays soccer, swims and takes lifeguarding classes, and during the school year he balances his activities all while still completing his assignments.
Nicoletti said he might continue running track this summer, something he thinks would give him a chance to continue competing after high school.
“I think I’m going to be training more this summer and hopefully I’ll work on my skill and I’ll see where that takes me,” Nicoletti said.
With all the success he’s had so far, there’s a big support group backing him up and attending his meets, including his parents and grandparents, who also made the six-hour road trip to Guelph for the OFSAA championships.
Then there are his coaches, Christiane Lalonde and Gordon Cavé, who’ve been his top supporters since he joined the high school team this year.
“They helped me throughout this whole season, they know what they’re doing. Honestly I don’t know what I’m doing that much in track, so I have to thank them for everything that I know so far and they’re very supportive and fun” Nicoletti said.
Lalonde and Cavé both called Nicoletti humble and the “whole package” when it comes to him as a person on and off the track.
Lalonde said Nicoletti may not have known the talent he has for the sport, but that the championships should be an “eye-opener” for him.
“It’s very encouraging for him, for us [and] for the rest of the team,” Lalonde said. “To get out there and manage his emotions and just do what he did was really cool.”
According to Lalonde, Nicoletti is someone who shows up ready to compete, listens to his coaches and applies any feedback to his craft right away.
On top of the OFSAA Championships, Nicoletti had other success with the sport this year, including breaking records at the East Regionals and winning athlete of the year at Paul-Desmarais. Lalonde also noted that other students are now starting to look up to him.
“He’s had a lot of success this season and he doesn’t let anything go to his head,” Nicoletti said. “It’s one thing to work with a kid who had talent, but with someone who’s willing to be better, it’s something else and that’s why his potential is so great. He’s never settling, he’s just ready to learn more and he wants more.”
Though Nicoletti said he knows he has to practise on some of his skills including his starts, and jumps over the hurdles, among other things, “practise does make perfect.”
There were personal bests for students at École secondaire catholique Paul- Desmarais with
Ribensly Boisette tying and finishing 4th in the men’s midget division high jump, Katie Manor finishing 9th in the women’s junior division 100m dash and the women’s junior 4X100m relay team coming in 13th place.
Other Ottawa Success
Ottawa had a number of medallists at the OFSAA Championships, including the following:
Andile Mabeleka, 3rd, midget men 300m hurdles
Bell High School
Kevin Robertson, 1st, open men 2000m steeplechase
Madison Armitage, 2rd, midget women 100m
Spencer Lewis, 1st, junior men shot put
Will Cox, 3rd, open men 2000m steeplechase
Jerry Delorme, 2nd, junior men triple jump
Keito Newman, 2nd, men’s 300m hurdles junior
Gloucester High School
Wariso Dullo, 1st, senior men javelin throw
Helena Jovic, 1st, senior women 400m hurdles
Kayla Vieux, 2nd, senior women 100 meter dash
Women’s 4x100m relay senior women’s team, 3rd
Gabriel Ferron-Bouius, 3rd, ambulatory men 800m run
Ferron-Bouius, 1st, para men shot put
Harley Martin, 2nd, midget women shot put
Martin, 1st, midget women javelin throw
Alex Harris, 2nd, junior women triple jump
Vienna Courteau, 1st, junior women long jump
Brandon Ovington, 3rd, senior men discus throw
Ovington, 2nd, senior men shot put