The Walnut Grove Gators are the biggest team from Langley competing this year. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance)

Walnut Grove’s Gators Langley’s team to watch at track championships

Teenagers from across the province wrapped up their competition in Langley Saturday.

While a number of Langley schools are taking part in the B.C. Track and Field Championships at McLeod Athletic Park, it’s the Gators who are dominating the local scene.

Don Sparks, one of the senior members of the coaching staff, said he wasn’t even sure how many student athletes from Walnut Grove were taking part – it was around 50 to 60, he said.

What makes Walnut Grove so competitive in track events compared to many other Langley and Lower Mainland schools?

“We actually have a track, so that helps,” Sparks said.

Beyond that, it’s a series of dedicated coaches who have built up the program over the years.

“Our first season was 1993,” said Sparks.

Current head coach Gary Lutes has been very enthusiastic about track and has attracted a large number of other teachers, volunteer coaches, and former students who have built up the program over the years.

The broad group of students competing includes Cassidy Cardle, in Grade 10 already helping coach other students as she prepped for a racewalk where she was a favourite to win a medal Sunday.

David Midgley, a Grade 9 student, already picked up a gold with his teammates in the 4X100m relay this year.

This is only his second year at the provincials.

“Pretty amazing,” Midgely said of the provincial meet. “Kind of an eye opener to see that there are people equal to your level.”

Sparks said one of the big things they work on is being a supportive team that works together.

“If yo win, you celebrate with humility, and if you lose, you lose with grace,” he said.

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