The Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association track and field championship concluded on Thursday at Caraco Field.
Because of COVID-19, the competition was put on hold since 2019.
It was a special day for Janey O’Rourke, who announced her retirement from coaching after 45 years. The track and field mentor at Frontenac Secondary School says it was always a labour of love.
“I got to coach both of my daughters,” said O’Rourke.
“When I met my husband, he helped coach as well, so it’s been a family affair and that makes it extra special.”
O’Rourke has coached hundreds, if not thousands, of athletes over the years. One of her students at Frontenac was Laura McDowell.
“She is a legend in KASSAA track and field,” said McDowell, who is now a coach at Lasalle Secondary School.
“She has such love and dedication for the sport.
“She embraces everyone involved, cheering every athlete in every event. She makes sure every athlete has the right technique and knows what to do. Janey goes above and beyond for her contributions to this sport.”
O’Rourke says the most important thing about track and field is participation and striving for personal best performances.
“It’s important to strive for realistic goals,” says the longtime coach.
“Every week it’s about improving. In other sports, there’s a winner and a loser, but in track and field it’s about achieving personal best showings and feeling good about yourself. That’s what I love about this sport.”
Thursday’s event was the first meet towards qualifying for the OFSAA championships, June 2 to 4 at York University.