Youth places top five at National Track and Field Championships

MAPLETON – Joel Rumph competed in the Canadian National Track and Field Championships in Sherbrooke, Quebec with the Laurel Creek Track Club from Aug. 11 to 13, where he represented Ontario in high jump.

The 15-year-old, who has only been with the Laurel Creek Track Club for about a year, placed fifth in Canada and was the highest jumper in his birth year (2007), with a jump of 193cm (roughly 6’3”). 

“I’m hoping that next year I’ll go again and do better since I’m only a first year U18,” said Joel. He added he feels pretty good knowing he finished in the top five.

Joel told the Community News he was in Sherbrooke for nationals for nearly a week and the competition was three days long.

“I was with Team Ontario,” he began. “Since I was with the team, we all stayed at a university together. Then we did other stuff as a team and [we stayed] down there the whole week.”

He also said individuals not playing on the team were able to simply arrive for their event and leave afterward.

In order to qualify for the national championships, Joel had to compete in three meets.

“The first one is the zone,” he said. 

His mother, Teresa, jumped in to say the top two players from zone then go on to provincials.

“Then the gold medalist from provincials goes on, if they meet the standards, they go on to nationals,” she said.

When explaining his favourite part about the championships, Joel said he enjoyed “making friends on the team and hanging out with them.”

The high jumper is from Mapleton and first learned the sport locally at Community Christian School in Drayton while in Grade one. 

He now attends Woodland Christian High School in Breslau, where he is also part of the school’s track and field team.

Back in June, Joel won the gold medal in the Jr. boys high jump at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championships in Ottawa. He won the event with a jump of 198cm, nearly 6’6”.

“That was my personal best,” he said.

Teresa noted that even though she and Joel have been involved in track and field, they had no idea that an event like nationals even occurred. 

“I had no idea that the Legion does this whole track thing,” said Teresa, noting she learned the event has been taking place for 45 years.

The proud mother said that, as a parent, it was overwhelming to see the number of volunteers it takes to run such an event.

“And to put your kid on a bus and send him off with people who are willing to take a week and chaperone a bunch of teenagers — it’s quite overwhelming to see what it all takes,” she said.

“To have that privilege and to have that opportunity is quite something.”