MDHS Blue Devil – MacLean finds himself out of medal hunt in 300-m hurdles

Connor MacLean (left), of MDHS, competes in the midget boys 300-m hurdles at the OFSAA track and field championships June 1 and 2 in Guelph. He finished 4th in this event, and 10th in the 100-m hurdles. COREY POLLARD   Published June 10, 2019  Updated June 12, 2019  Mitchell Advocate  Andy Bader

Oh so close, yet so far.

That’s the feeling of Connor MacLean, the Grade 9 student of Mitchell District High School (MDHS), who finished fourth – just out of the medals – in the midget boys 300-metre hurdles at the Ontario Federation School Athletic Association (OFSAA) track and field championships in Guelph this past Saturday, June 8.
MacLean, who turns 15 in August, did run a personal best time of 41.68-seconds, more than half a second better than his previous personal best when he ran 42.24-seconds at the OFSAA West Regionals one week earlier in Cambridge.
“If I didn’t hit the last hurdle I probably would have got a medal,” he said Sunday, a day after the final track and field event of a long season.
MacLean said his front foot hit the final hurdle enough to knock it down – “it was a good hit,” he said – and that kept him off the podium.
He did the same thing in his heat earlier in the day, he noted.
“It was enough to slow me down,” he conceded.
The top two winners in the event surpassed the previous OFSAA record, so it was a great race by some outstanding athletes. MacLean was seeded seventh going into the race.
MacLean, the son of Scott and Jayne MacLean of RR 2 Staffa, has been training at the Western track club the last two years and his growth in the sport has been impressive, said MDHS track and field coach Corey Pollard.
MacLean also qualified in the midget boys 100-metre hurdles, where he finished 10th last Friday, June 7, with a time of 14.6-seconds.
When asked to compare, or which race he likes better, MacLean said he preferred the 300-metre event.
“It’s my better race, I’d say… I’m not fast enough in the 100,” he said. “And there’s more chance to recover in the 300.”
A hockey player in the winter with the Mitchell Bantams, MacLean trains nine-months of the year both indoor and outdoor at the track club to prepare for next season.
His goal heading into the track and field season this year, his first in high school, was to make the OFSAA West Regionals so he exceeded it by advancing all the way to the provincial final.
He moves up to junior next year and he’s already looking forward to getting over that final hurdle – literally – and on to the podium.
Fellow Grade 9 MDHS student Amber Judge also qualified for OFSAA, finishing sixth in the midget girls pole vault with a leap of 2.70-metres; and placed 10th in the midget girls triple jump with a jump of 10.35-metres. Both efforts were less than what she recorded at OFSAA West the previous week, but she, too, had an outstanding season in her first year of high school, Pollard said.
Mitchell resident Zach McPhee, a student at Stratford St. Mike’s, finished ninth in the open boys steeplechase at OFSAA, while Fullarton resident Makayla Roy, who attends Stratford Northwestern, finished seventh in the senior girls javelin.