ST. PAUL - A number of athletes from across the Lakeland region made the trip south to Medicine Hat to compete in the Alberta Schools' Athletic Association (ASAA) Track and Field Championships on June 3 and 4, at least one student came back with gold - and will now get a banner placed in a St. Paul school gymnasium in honour of the feat.
Wearing a hooded sweatshirt from a previous provincial competition in cross country running, Shawn Lysons doesn't brag or boast about his recent success. The Grade 12 student at St. Paul Regional High School is rather humble.
But, his accomplishments at the provincial competition are worth noting.
Introduced by the ASAA in 2015, Para events offer opportunities for students with physical and/or intellectual disabilities. The ASAA is firm in noting that Para is a "competitive opportunity for students" and it follows the framework from Athletics Canada.
Running in all three events available, Lysons managed to snag himself a record with the ASAA, running the 200 metre dash in 26.86 seconds. Lysons also took gold in Para shot put.
Despite his strong performance in track and field, Lysons says he looks at the sport as a way to get better at another sport that he's been involved with for nine years - swimming. He enjoys sprinting, and the fact that it helped him get strong for swimming.
Leading up to Provincials, Lysons also competes at Zones, where he performed really well. When asked about his experience at provincials, Lysons noted, "it was hot."
Ahead of the Provincial competition, coach and instructor Hank Smid says they spoke with Lysons about times, but coaches didn't want him to feel like he had to win - although he went into his events seeded in first and second place.
His coaches simply encouraged him to "just go out there and run. And he did awesome," says Smid, who had no doubt Lysons would give his best.
Lysons admits he was happy to get the results he did at Provincials, and his parents were especially excited. He says he also enjoys being able to support and cheer for his fellow teammates. And according to Smid, Lysons has his own group of fans cheering him on.
Not long after the provincial competition, the high school held its annual sports awards event. Lysons received a shared MVP award for Track and Field, and also received an Outstanding Performance award for his efforts in cross country running.
As his Grade 12 year wraps up - and much of his time in high school was disrupted by the pandemic - Lysons will finish his high school years with five provincial medals to his name.
More medals for the Saints
Also receiving medals at the Provincial track and field championship event in Medicine Hat was Regional High School student Zach Quinton, who won bronze in the junior boys long jump, and bronze in the junior boys composite 4x100 relay team.
St. Paul Regional High School athlete Francis Adebayo also won bronze in the intermediate boys composite 4x100 relay team.