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MacKay sets sights on higher bar

By Ryan Stelter, Camrose Canadian

Supplied
Camrose Composite High School track athlete Tim MacKay wrapped up his high school career with a bronze medal in the high jump, and hopes to one day follow in the foot steps of Olympic champion Derek Drouin from Corunna, Ont.

Supplied Camrose Composite High School track athlete Tim MacKay wrapped up his high school career with a bronze medal in the high jump, and hopes to one day follow in the foot steps of Olympic champion Derek Drouin from Corunna, Ont.

Tim MacKay is jumping into the spotlight in the track and field scene. 

The Grade 12 high jumper from Camrose Composite High School is coming off a bronze medal at the Alberta School Athletic Association Track and Field Championships in Edmonton on June 3, his final event as a high schooler. MacKay will have a busy summer ahead of him, with one of his goals to attend the Canada Summer games held in Winnipeg. It will be a bit of an uphill battle for MacKay to attend the Canada games, as he will be competing against university-level competition. However, he remains optimistic about his chances. 

“I think anybody has a shot, It’s anybody’s game really,” MacKay said. 

Post-high school life has definitely crossed MacKay’s mind, but he is not entirely sure what he is going to do yet. A couple Canadian schools have looked at MacKay, but to further progress as an athlete it is best to look south of the border. 

“For track you want to get into an American college,” he said. “For now I am just going to focus on the meets here, go through each goal, one-by-one.” 

For Mackay, doing high jump always seemed natural to him, starting way back when he was in Grade 7. 

“I could always jump, and I could jump pretty high,” he said. “I thought ‘Hey I like running and jumping’ so I joined a track club and went for it.” 

In junior high, MacKay was dominating, winning everything he participated in, so he decided to take it to the next level. He then started to compete against other track athletes, instead of just at school meets. It was not always easy for MacKay, however, in 2015 he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease which causes long lasting inflammation and ulcers (sores) in the digestive tract. MacKay has got it to a manageable point and sees it as just a bump in the road. 

“I’ve got the health under control now,” he said. “When I got out of the hospital I don’t think I trained as hard as I did that next year. Even though that year I didn’t come out on top of everybody else, I’m pretty sure I worked harder than anyone else.” 

MacKay hopes to make similar headlines to fellow Canadian, Derek Drouin. Drouin, a high jumper from Corunna, Ont. won gold at the 2016 Olympic in Rio De Janeiro after he jumped 2.38 metres. For MacKay, seeing that a Canadian can reach that level of success, especially in high jump, is inspiring. 

“For any track athlete you look up to those guys at the Olympic level. It’s been a while since we’ve had good Canadian athletes,” he said. 

At the 2016 Canadian Track and Field Championships held in Edmonton, MacKay had the chance to watch Drouin jump. 

“It’s different, they’re grown men, they’re stronger. The way they do it, their strides are a lot longer and more powerful,” he said. “Instead of just jumping over, they’re soaring over. So it’s a different view of things.” 

Drouin ultimately went on to have Olympic success later that summer, which MacKay saw as an inspiration. 

“It was cool, when you look at the numbers where he was jumping when he was my age, it’s not that far off,” he said. “You think ‘Wow, I wonder if that’s even doable?’ but it is.” 

For now though, MacKay is keeping his goals small, and will not get too ahead of himself, but who knows, maybe MacKay can bring a gold medal home at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. 



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