Rose is a late bloomer
Rose Philome has some catching up to do.
The Grade 12 student at Saint-Jean-de-Brébeuf at Welland only joined the Niagara Olympic Club two months ago with hopes of taking her track and field exploits to the next level.
“When I was a kid, I always wanted to go to the Olympics. I used to watch Usain Bolt running at that inspired me but it was really my parents who pushed me into taking the next steps,” Philome said, after winning the senior girls long jump, high jump and 100 metres at Tuesdays’ Niagara Region High School Athletic Association Zone 3 track meet at Centennial.
The 17-year-old Welland resident first started thinking about taking her training to another level at a club after she placed second at South Regionals in the novice girls high jump in 2019 and then went on to finish seventh at OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championships).
“In ninth grade, I didn’t really think about it that much but after OFSAA I was like ‘I really want to do this.’ But with COVID hitting, I didn’t get the chance to. Once everything started to open up again, my dad started looking for a club to put me in. He reached out to Sharon (Stewart) and that’s how I got started.”
She has been making rapid progress since joining NOC.
“I have made a lot of improvements. When I first got there, Trevor (Moore) was always working with me on my form, just arms moving back and forth and then a cycling motion,” she said. “When I look back to my ninth grade season — I have videos on my phone — it was wow. There is such a difference.”
She knows there is work to do if she wants to make up ground on runners who have been training at clubs since Grade 9 or 10.
“I still need to focus on my form and I am aiming to shorten my times, especially in the 100,” Philome said. “Even though I got first place here (Zone 3), I know that there is going to be a lot tougher people who I am going to meet at the next competitions.”
Moore, a running coach at NOC, is impressed with Philome.
“Rose is very fast and a talented athlete,” he said. “She just started with us this past year so she started super late. If she had started earlier, she would be an amazing multi-eventer. She is three years behind but she is doing very well.”
The big question is if she can catch up fast enough to succeed at the high school level this spring.
“I guess we will find out but she is running very fast right now and she catches on very quick,” Moore said. “It will be exciting to see what she does in the 100 throughout the rest of the season.”
Randy McDougall, the NOC’s throwing coach, is excited to see what the future holds for Philome.
“Rose is a very talented athlete with a lot of raw potential,” he said. “She is extremely coachable, listens to direction and picks up on new queues and techniques very easily. If she is able to move on to a university team, she will develop very quickly into an elite track and field athlete.”
Philome’s goal this spring is to make it to OFSAA in all three events.
Her favourite discipline is the high jump.
“I feel more liberated when I am high jumping.”
When this year is done, she is planning to study biomedicine at Brock and run track for the St. Catharines university.