Back-to-back gold for Kyjiah
Kyjiah Slowley’s progress as a track and field athlete has been on the fast track.
Since last fall, the 14-year-old Niagara Falls resident has increased her high jump personal best by 15 centimetres and her best leap in the long jump by half a metre.
At the March 26-27 Ontario Spring Showcase, the Thorold Elite Track Club member won gold medals in the high jump (1.48 metres), long jump (4.73) and 60-metre hurdles (10.33 seconds). Her long jump was a meet record for under-15 girls and her hurdles time was a personal best. The following weekend, she won gold in the high jump at the Minor Track Association of Ontario championships with a personal best jump of 1.46 metres.
“Kyjiah started with us in Grade 5 which is a little bit younger to start doing hurdles and jumps at a higher level but the early foundation has helped to pave the way for the kind of progress that she is seeing now,” said Thorold Elite head coach Steve Fife, who coaches Slowley along with former national champions DeAndre Fournier and Jason Pilkington. “Her next step is going to be just making some small technical refinements that will add up to greater increases in numbers or shaving time off of her hurdles race. And just having the opportunity to train consistently outside will make all the difference for all of our athletes.”
The Grade 8 student at St. John Henry Newman Catholic Elementary School, who is planning on attending Saint Paul this fall, discovered in Grade 4 that she was talented in track and field and decided to join the Thorold Elite Track Club. Prior to taking up track, she trained in gymnastics for four years.
“I’ve been doing really well and I am proud of the results that I have been getting.”
She trains six day a week with Thorold Elite and it is a labour of love.
“I really like competitions, meeting new people and jumping and running. It is a lot of fun.”
Her favourite events right now are javelin and long jump.
“Long jump I have been doing really well in and I find it a lot of fun and javelin I am kind of new to it and I am really enjoying it. I really hope I can continue in it.”
Slowley doesn’t have any specific goals in mind for track and field.
“My mom is hoping that I can get a scholarship for high jump and maybe long jump. Those are the two events that I want to do the most.”
After the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the elementary school track and field seasoning 2020 and 2021, she is looking forward to having a chance to compete for her school this spring.
“I have videos from when I first did track and I am excited to see how far I have come.”
Slowley agrees it was tough to keep up with training during the pandemic when lockdowns forced her to train away from her clubmates.
“At first it was pretty hard because the motivation wasn’t there anymore and I knew that there wasn’t to be any meets,” she said. “I was kind of bummed out but then my friend Victoria (Massoom) asked me to come to the track and do some workouts. That got me more motivated to do more stuff by myself.”