High school senior Bax fast finisher in final hometown meet

After just three track meets in the renovated Masich Place Stadium, Jordan Bax has run his last hometown race as a competitive high school athlete.

Bax, a mid-distance runner in his fifth season with the Prince George Track and Field Club, didn't have much competition this past weekend as one of the few senior athletes registered in the two-day Spruce Capital meet, which drew just 90 participants, most in the younger age categories.

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Even with nobody pushing him in two of the three running events he entered, Bax still managed to post a personal best in an event he doesn't usually race, the 400 metres.

"I was super-happy to get a PB, 1:00.78, almost sub-one minute, which is not as fast as some of the guys but for being a distance runner I'm pretty happy about that," said Bax, who is graduating from D.P. Todd Secondary School this year.

"What's hard about it is this meet is normally bigger than Sub Zero but there's nobody here. It's a great meet for all the younger kids in elementary who are just trying to get experience. I could have walked in and got gold."

Bax raced the 1,500m Saturday with Maxwell Whitehouse, a Grade 10 student from Cedars Christian and the two were close to each other for two laps but Bax kicked it into high gear in the last lap and beat Whitehouse by 20 seconds, winning in 4:46.

Bax was the only senior in the 800m race Sunday and finished his two laps of the track in 2:25.

"Because I was the only one in it I didn't take it that seriously and I stayed up later (the night before) and hung out with some friends and I knew it was just for fun," said Bax. "My time wasn't bad, but I took it easy.

"Nolan McCleary from Vanderhoof, he's a year younger than me and he killed it. He ran a 2:07. He gave it all."

Bax will be in Burnaby for the Harry Jerome International Track Classic June 20, then will head to Kelowna for the Jack Brow International meet, June 28-30.

"The Jack Brow is usually a B.C. meet but the Australians come and they bring a little zest to it," said Bax. "It makes it fun to race against people you normally don't race against. That's where I'm looking to peak, so I'm looking forward to it."

Bax also excels as a trail runner and won the cross country running zone championship last fall and placed 54th at provincials. He's also got a bit of triathlete in him, having finished second overall at the Prince George Iceman multisport endurance race in February.

He plans to move to Kamloops next year to train with former PGTFC high jumper Bazil Spencer, who trains with former Olympic bronze medalist shot putter Dylan Armstrong. There's an opportunity for Bax to train with the cross country team at Thompson Rivers University without actually enrolling in the school.

He wants to work full time for a year to save some money for when he eventually does go back to school.

"Right now I feel I'm not at the greatest point to get anything too amazing (for scholarships) and that's why I want to take the year off," said Bax. "If I take the year off and do all the city meets and improve myself drastically, that's when I can get something."

Also on the horizon this summer for Bax is the B.C. Athletics Jamboree in Kamloops, July 5-7. If he does well, he'll move on to the B.C. Junior Development championships in South Surrey, July 19-21. The junior development meet is a qualifier for the Canadian Legion Youth Track and Field Championships in Sydney, N.S., Aug. 9-11.

Sophia Mahmoud, a Grade 10 student at Duchess Park Secondary School, wasn't severely tested in her 400m and 200m races at the Spruce Capital meet but had personal-best times in both.

"It was a lot better than I expected, because when we first got here it was dead, no one was here," said Mahmoud.

"I was running with Jordan in my 400 and got a PB, 1:04.52, and that was my favourite race of the whole meet. It was so much fun. I took a full second off my time and I was really surprised I PB'd."

Mahmoud ran her best-ever 200 in 27.95, one-hundredth of a second slower than Taigen Wheele of D.P. Todd, a Grade 11 student.

"I ran 400 hurdles and that was far from my PB, but that was hard because I was running by myself," said Mahmoud.

"It was just me so I just focused on form and not so much speed, which made it more technical. It's fun racing with all the little kids cheering you on, because we coach them and they all know who you are."

Mahmoud is entered in all three events at the Jack Brow, her season-ending meet. She'll continue to train with the club until mid-July. She and her dad are working on an off-season training program that will include weight training, swimming and cross-country skiing.

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