John Polanyi archers string together three-peat

Members of the OFSAA gold medal archery team, Joshua Beech, left, Mike Avrakh, Thinh Ho and Kyle Chan set their sights on the future after claiming the team's third straight gold.
A TOUR DE FOUR-CE: Members of the OFSAA gold medal team, Joshua Beech, left, Mike Avrakh, Thinh Ho and Kyle Chan set their sights on the future after claiming the team’s third straight gold.

There’s a changing of the guard within the John Polanyi CI archery team, even though they officially completed the provincial three-peat.

Grade 11 student Thinh Ho, who has been leading the troupe for the past two seasons, witnessed his teammate, freshman Kyle Chan, take gold at the Ontario High School Archery Invitational Tournament, May 19, in Richmond Hill.

Chan finished with a total of 471 at the provincial championships, and Polanyi’s Mike Avrakh medaled as well, finishing in second with a score of 428.

The Jaguars also won gold for final team results, with a score of 1575.

Ho, who claimed gold in boys’ standard class the last two years, finished seventh overall out 28 archers. He started strong, but nerves got the best of him during his second round.

There was tremendous pride in his voice though, even though he did not claim gold, he valued the team picking up where he left off.

“When (Chan) received first prize, I felt like it’s just like me before — we did a really good job as a team,” Ho said, while on lunch break in Polanyi’s gym. “If I fall, there is another person there to pull up the team.”

Even though Ho is only in Grade 11, he’ll be graduating at the end of the year. He’s in the accelerated program at John Polanyi, and also took summer school to get ahead.

Head coach, Vernon Kee, chalked up the waning second round to a lack of sleep.

September was the first time Chan picked up the bow, and his dedication to practise — firing 60-100 arrows a day — paid off.

He said he’s focusing on avoiding a sophomore slump in 2017.

“After you win OFSAA they give you a bow package, and I was thinking of practising with that so my skills don’t die on me,” he said.

He beamed at the prospect of another year of year reaching the podium.

“The students were driven, and self motivated,” Kee said, adding the team practised eight times a week. “They worked pretty hard, and they kept asking what kind of scores they needed to get gold. I told them, and they had a clear objective.”

Rounding out the boys’ standard results were Peter Fernandez and Joshua Beech, who finished 15th and 16th respectively. Angelica Sig-Od was the top ranked Jaguar in girls’ standard, placing seventh, while Kiana Darrell, Kavitha Kumar, Emma Da Silva and Melalee Gordon finishing 12th, 32nd, 33rd and 38th.

The girls finished fifth overall in the final team results with a score of 996. Leaside High School made the podium, posting a score of 1191 — good enough for bronze.

Kee said his girls are looking to chase compound class champions from St. Joseph Scollard Hall next year.

That factors well into Kee’s plans to expand his team into other classes like Olympic Recurve and Compound.