Courtesy of Bernie Puchalski at The Standard…
Two-time champion (NOC’s Shane Decker)
The fastest man in Zone 4 is in no hurry to get out of high school.
Shane Decker, a Grade 12 student at Denis Morris and the reigning SOSSA senior boys track and field champion in the 100 and 200 metres, plans on returning for a second year of Grade 12.
“I am definitely coming back for 12B after the health issues I’ve had,” the 18-year-old said. “I need to come back and gather myself and forget what is going on.”
When he graduates, Decker will have plenty of options. He has received letters of interest from several Ontario universities wanting to have him on their track teams, including Brock, Guelph, Waterloo and Windsor.
Decker, who won the senior boys 100 metres (11.23 seconds) and 200 metres (23.02 seconds) at Thursday’s Zone 4 preliminary track and field meet, spent four weeks in the hospital in the winter of his Grade 10 year as doctors tried to figure out why he was passing out. This winter, the illness bug hit again when he missed a month of training while recovering from pneumonia.
“I got back into it in mid-January and I’m trying to train hard,” the Niagara Olympic Club runner said. “I still have a cough since my pneumonia but I’m working through it.”
This year, he’s aiming for a time of 10.8 seconds in the 100 metres and 21.9 seconds in the 200 metres. He needs to run under 11 seconds to qualify for the junior nationals.
“I ran it last year so it’s not a big deal. I will get it this year, too.”
He ran a personal-best 10.99 at last year’s Ontario championships in Toronto and ran 11.01 at Ontario Legion championships. He was unable to attend the Canadian championships because of a lack of funding.
“I have a job now so I’m hoping to go this summer,” he said.
This spring, his goal is to make the OFSAA 100-metre final, but it won’t be easy.
“I really think I can do it,” he said.
It’s hard for sprinters from Niagara to crack an OFSAA final.
“Toronto has all the fast sprinters and it’s ridiculous,” Decker said. “Once you get to OFSAA regionals, that’s when Toronto comes in and it’s very difficult.”