ARS Armenian Private School’s track and field team earns six medals

By Coach Sam Manougian

On May 10, the ARS Armenian Private School Kololian Elementary track and field team participated in the SSAF (Small Schools Athletic Federation) track and field meet at York University. Over 40 schools were represented in the under-12 and elementary divisions, which included students from grades four to eight.

Led by coaches Miss McDowell, Mrs. Miller, and Coach Sam, the ARS athletes had been diligently training and attending regular morning practices. They focused on improving their speed, endurance, strength, and jumping skills. Some students had prior experience in other sports, while others were new to athletics. The track practices not only enhanced their performance in track and field but also benefited them in various other sports, such as volleyball, basketball, soccer, and badminton. Even those less involved in sports enjoyed the health advantages of regular exercise. The students cherished the camaraderie among their teammates and took pride in representing their school at the SSAF track meet.

After weeks of morning practices, the tournament day finally arrived, greeted by beautiful sunshine. At 7:30 a.m., the students eagerly gathered at the school, brimming with anticipation for the exciting day ahead. Upon reaching York University, they were greeted by a large group of volunteer parents who generously set up the athletes’ tent and ensured their timely arrival at their respective events. The day’s events included the 100 m, 400 m, 1,500 m, and 4×100 m relay running events on the track, as well as the standing long jump and running long jump at the jumping pits. Each event was further divided into boys and girls divisions for 10-year-olds, 11-year-olds, 12-year-olds, and 13/14-year-olds.

The events swiftly kicked off with the demanding 1,500 m race. In the 12-year-old boys division, ARS’s George Missirlian exhibited remarkable strength, positioning himself comfortably among the leading pack. As the laps progressed, many runners began to falter and fall behind. With one lap remaining, George shifted gears and surged ahead, securing a wide-margin victory in first place. Similarly, in the 11-year-old girls’ 1,500 m division, both Areni Balian and Sevana Toodakian from ARS demonstrated their prowess, consistently among the front-runners throughout the race. Sevana ultimately finished strong in second place overall.

Next came the 400 m race, which, due to the substantial number of participants, featured staggered starts and lane restrictions, necessitating multiple heats and races against the clock. In the 11-year-old girls division, both Areni Balian and Tereza Berberian showcased their strength, winning their respective heats by significant margins. After careful calculations, Areni secured an impressive fourth-place finish, while Tereza claimed the first-place title. Similarly, in the 12-year-old boys’ 400 m division, George Missirlian delivered a powerful performance, securing a third-place finish.

ARS athletes also excelled in the jumping pits. In the 12-year-old girls division, Sevana Sarkissian showcased her explosive strength, earning two medals. She secured second place in the standing long jump and third place in the running long jump. The scorching day was filled with exhilaration as ARS athletes passionately competed in their events, filling the air with resounding cheers for their teammates.

L-R: George Missirlian, Sevana Toodakian, Tereza Berberian and Sevana Sarkissian (Photos courtesy of the ARS Armenian Private School)

At the end of the day, on their way back to the school, despite their exhaustion, the students reflected on their accomplishments with contentment. They deemed it a tremendous experience, acknowledging the value of practice, training, and the thrill of competition. Anticipation for next year’s event resonated with each of them.

Coach Miss McDowell expressed immense pride in her students, saying that the students had dedicated themselves to practice and had now reaped the rewards of their hard work.

Coach Sam added that he holds a profound sense of pride and respect for each and every one of the students. “As a coach, we can only ask our athletes to give their all, and today, that’s precisely what they did. Success demands sacrifice from athletes, coaches, and parents alike, and at ARS, we are fortunate to have the best of all three.”

ARS Principal Raffi Sarkissian encapsulated their achievements: “At ARS, we have always taken pride in our students’ academic excellence, and now, thanks to our dedicated coaches, we can celebrate their athletic accomplishments as well.”