Brouwer a tower of power
It didn’t take long for Braeden Brouwer to show he had the stuff to be a special athlete in hurdles.
The 17-year-old, Grade 11 student at West Niagara Secondary School was a short distance runner before adding the hurdles to his events last year.
“I still remember our very first hurdle practices in the summer,” Thorold Elite Track Club coach Steven Fife said. “It was obvious that he was going to be pretty good and pretty fast but we waited almost an entire year to get a competitive race like that OFSAA final.”
Brouwer ran a 14.64 to earn a bronze medal in the 110-metre senior boys hurdle at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations track and field meet in Ottawa earlier this month.
Drezdon Howe of Belle River won the gold in a time of 14.40.
“I’m pretty proud but I want first for next year,” Brouwer said. “I feel that I will have succeeded once I get first.
“I was pretty far ahead of everyone else for third but second and first were kind of further ahead of me. I wanted to get first or second.”
Brouwer earlier breezed through the Zone meet winning the 100, 200, and 110-metre hurdles before winning again at the Southern Ontario Secondary School Assocoaition (SOSSA) and South Regionals meets in the 110-metre hurdles.
“All the way to South Regionals there aren’t many good hurdlers in the area. The two best guys are from the West Region and they beat me at OFSAA,” Brouwer said.
Brouwer comes by his talents naturally — his father Peter Brouwer attended Beamsville Secondary School where he participated in hurdles and persuaded his son to give the event a try.
“My dad went to OFSAA for it so I knew I’d always be a pretty good hurdler,” Braeden Brouwer said.
He said the secret to success in hurdles is a combination of things.
“You have to be flexible, fast and not be scared to hit the hurdle and be powerful enough to get through it even if you do,” Braeden Brower said.
Last fall, Braeden Brouwer ran his first hurdles race (100-metres) at the Fall Field Fest in Hamilton. Running solo, his time of 15.13 with a headwind would have qualified him for the OFSAA final in grade 10. He then ran his first 110-metre hurdles race on May 6 at the Golden Horseshoe Prep Meet. Once again running solo, he ran 14.82 which was at the time the fastest in the province.
“Braeden is a special talent and the kind of dedicated athlete that every single one of our coaches is highly invested in and wants to see succeed,” Fife said. “Even though he hasn’t even been here for full year yet it feels to all of us like he is one of the long-time members.”
“We have seen him get stronger, faster, and make a name for himself not just as a sprinter but now as a hurdler. He works hard, and rarely misses practice to the point where we often have to convince him to take a rest or recovery day.”
Brouwer, who is coached by Eric Klein and Jac Harris in sprints and Fife in hurdles, was also named Track Most Valuable Player at the West Niagara athletic banquet this week.
He will be competing at the National Championships in Quebec this August.
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