Katia Bannister didn’t just win the junior girls 100 and 200 metre events at the Island high school track and field championships. She won both events by a wide margin at UVic’s Centennial Stadium – and that’s saying something considering the short distance of track each covers.
Bannister, a Grade 10 Chemainus Secondary School student and Thetis Island resident, was in high gear for both races to claim the titles and also qualify for the B.C. championships in Kelowna May 31-June 1 where she’s aiming to be on the podium again against the top runners in the province in her age class.
Despite her phenomenal results, Bannister said she wasn’t actually feeling her best for the 200 final Thursday.
“I was quite tired,” she conceded. “I had to do four races and that’s the last of the four. All of a sudden, I was just going.”
Bannister was going all right – as in going, going, gone compared to the rest of the field.
Her 200 final brought a personal best by more than a second to 26.27 seconds. Runner-up Meghan Sheehan of Mark Isfeld was more than a second behind at 27.35.
Bannister ran her two events, the 100 and 200 metre heats, about four hours apart the first day. The gap between the two finals closed the second day to an hour.
“It’s kind of annoying, honestly,” Bannister conceded of the minimal rest time for the finals. “After one race, I want to have something to eat and drink. And it’s always hard on your body to do that.”
But there’s always a positive side and she made the most of it.
“There’s still the adrenaline, you’re still warmed up,” Bannister noted. “You don’t have to do your whole routine again.”
Her clean sweep included 13.01 for the 100 and 27.08 for the 200 in the heats, with a 12.77 clocking for the 100 final and then the blistering 26.27 for the asterisk on the meet in the 200 final. Louisa Krusekopf of Belmont was second in the 100 final in 13.24, nearly half a second back of Bannister.
“I know my competition wasn’t there because it’s just Islands,” she added. “Yeah, I get nervous beforehand. I always do.”
Sheehan, well-known to Bannister from last year’s B.C. Summer Games, was expected to give her a run in the 200 final but she just took her ability at that distance to an entirely different level.
At one time, she was just hoping to get under 27 seconds. Now, Bannister has her sights set on going under 26.
Continuing to train three times a week with the Nanaimo Track Club has truly paid off for her big-time this year as her athleticism evolves even further with maturity.
“I think going to practice more and really taking that time has really solidified what I was going to do,” Bannister conceded.
Her 200 time put her into a tie for 11th place in Canada at the Under 18 level and sixth in all of Canada for girls born in 2003. Comparing Bannister’s times with the Grade 11s and 12s at the meet, she would have placed second in both those races for seniors.
It all bodes well for the provincials coming up where Bannister hopes to begin a progression toward the top of the heap by Grade 12.
“What I wanted to do this year, I didn’t have any expectations for the 200,” she said. “Now I do.”
Bannister put Chemainus Secondary into 13th place overall among the 33 schools in the Island meet all by herself.
Other Chemainus Secondary athletes at the meet didn’t quite crack the top 10 to earn contributing points.
Kieran Miller was 13th in junior boys discus and Richard Kim 21st with respective tosses of 23.45 and 21.97 metres. Kim also came 14th in the junior shot put at 9.82 metres while Dominic Hill placed 13th in the senior boys discus, throwing 21.34 metres.