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NCAA-bound Broadbent of Parkland the breakout star of Island high school track and field championships

Top finishers advance to provincials next month in Langley
Eventual winner Alexa Dow of Frances Kelsey leads the pack during the junior girls’ 1,500-metres on Thursday at the Island High School Track and Field Championships at Centennial Stadium. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

The best always dream big.

“I have my eyes on the Olympics in 2028 in Los Angeles,” said Ruby Broadbent.

The seamlessly striding star from Parkland Secondary, headed to run in the NCAA Pac-12 for the Oregon State Beavers, is literally on track to getting there. Broadbent was named the top female athlete of the 2023 Island high school track and field championships Wednesday and Thursday at Centennial Stadium by winning the senior girls’ 800, 1,500 and 3,000 metres with the last two in record-setting times.

That added to Broadbent’s recent successes in winning the same events in the Lower Island championships last week, breaking three-time former Claremont great and three-time Olympian Debbie Scott’s 48-year 1,500-metre record in the process, and winning the girls’ high school one-mile and two-mile events at the Oregon Relays this month. Broadbent also won the B.C. high school cross-country championship in the fall. All this from an athlete who only took up running two years ago after coming up in the Island Wave soccer program.

Broadbent said she noticed that while she wasn’t the fastest player on the soccer pitch ­tracking down balls, she had endurance and could steadily dribble, pass, shoot and tackle hard over the full 90 minutes without fatigue. A middle-­distance track career was born.

“I found I enjoyed running more than soccer and I felt the potential to go farther in the sport was more available to me in track than in soccer,” said the Grade 12 athlete. “I find it so peaceful over a team sport. When you step on the track, all your other problems go away.”

So much so that Broadbent does not wear ear buds even in training.

“I like to listen to my ­footsteps,” she said.

Those are the sentiments of a true runner, even one converted from soccer.

In between her star turns around the Centennial Stadium track this week, Broadbent went back home to Central Saanich to study for a chemistry test. She shines in the classroom as well with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and will enrol in pre-med courses at Oregon State and plans to become a doctor.

“I am really happy to be named the girls’ athlete of the Island championships, especially having to sit out last year with injury,” said Broadbent.

“The focus was on staying healthy this season.”

Krescyn Moonsamy of Aspengrove Secondary in Nanaimo was senior male athlete of the Island championships. Ellie McDowell of Oak Bay and Lacy Simmons of Carihi in Campbell River were named the most inspirational athletes of the meet.

Oak Bay, meanwhile, swept to a formidable 31st consecutive Island high school senior team championship. Broken down, Oak Bay was first in seniors girls’ and the Reynolds Roadrunners second. Oak Bay was first in senior boys’ and the Lambrick Park Lions second.

Oak Bay was boys’ and girls’ junior team champion with St. Andrew’s second in girls’ and Lambrick Park second in boys’. St. Andrew’s swept the the Grade 8 team championships with Southgate second in girls’ and Quamichan second in boys’.

A total of 680 athletes from 52schools took part in this year’s Island championships, hosted by Belmont.

The top finishers in the Island championships advanced to the B.C. high school track and field championships June 8-10 in Langley. Oak Bay is the defending provincial senior Triple-A overall team champion and will be after its 13th B.C. title since 2002. The Bays dynasty also has five second-place team finishes since 2001 to go with its 12 team championships since 2002.

Coach Tom Turnbull’s ­Lambrick Park Lions, known in the past for their field- and throwing-events prowess, are the defending senior B.C. ­Double-A team champions.