Leitch heads to junior Pan Ams

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

The former basket boy will be running in Trinidad.

Eight years ago, Scott Leitch signed up as a volunteer at TD Waterhouse Stadium when the Canada Summer Games were held in London.

"I was 10 years old and did the things they assign to little kids like put the orange cone up in front of the long jump pit," Leitch said. "One job was to go to the track start line with a basket and all the competitors would put their belongings in the basket.

"Someone has to run to the finish line to give them their stuff."

Now 18, Leitch is still running to finish lines. These days, he's earning medals and opportunities by the bushel.

The 400-metre hurdler heads to Trinidad and Tobago next week to compete at the Pan Am junior championships. He qualified with a second-place finish in a personal-best 53.36 seconds at the Canadian junior championships in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

"I was walking with my coach Coop (London Legion skipper Sandy Cooper-Ryder) at practice and said to her if anyone told me three years ago that I would be in Trinidad running for Canada, I would've laughed at them," Leitch said. "I've come a long way. This meet was on my radar since pretty much this time last year.

"I've looked at some of the other (hurdling) times, but I'm not going with any idea of placement in mind. I just want to run the fastest I can in the heat race and make the final."

Leitch was Western track's rookie of the year last season and finished fourth at the Canadian university championships in the 600 metres.

He and multi-event star Jen Cotten will represent Ontario at the Canada Games back at the same Charlottetown track next month.

His sporting life has come full circle.

"I've never had a track season go on to the end of August before, so this is new," Leitch said, "and then it'll be back to university. I had a lot of fun last year. I usually had run the 300, but by getting the 600, I got to hang around not just the sprinters, but the distance guys, too."

Fellow London Legion member Taylor Stewart also qualified for Trinidad with a silver in the triple jump (15.10 metres) and bronze in the long jump (7.06 metres) at Charlottetown.

Former Banting teammate Zach Russell-Ford dominated the shot put with an 18.27-metre heave. Jenessa Olson of the St. Thomas Legion club won the women's 400-metre hurdles in 1:00.81.

Jessica Parry, who finished second in the 800 to Annie Leblanc (2:09.47) and the 1,500 to University of Washington speedster Kendra Schaff's meet record 4:20.50, qualified for Trinidad, but isn't making the trip.

Neither is 110-metre hurdles champ Gregory MacNeill, but not by choice. His 13.83 time broke a 15-year-old record by Adrian Woodley, who went on to run the event at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

But MacNeill is still a youth competitor and, as such, didn't meet the criteria to make the trip.

Cooper-Ryder appealed the decision, but lost.

"That was unfortunate," Leitch said.


Videos

Photos