Pickering's Speed Academy has huge medal haul at nationals

Track-and-field club returns from PEI with 22 medals

PICKERING -- Speed Academy coach Tony Sharpe is a firm believer that if you put talent and knowledge together it creates results.

His athletes have certainly subscribed to that theory, exhibiting their talent and ability to win at the Canadian national youth track-and-field championships in Charlottetown, PEI, returning home with 22 medals all told.

While track and field is generally considered an individual sport, the family atmosphere that Sharpe has created among his club members has also had a profound effect on their success.

"They're having fun," says Sharpe of a key component to his Pickering-based club's success. "My group, they are brothers and sisters. If you watch them when they travel, they look out for each other. They are rarely apart when they travel.

"They enjoy the environment that has been created."

One of those athletes thriving in the atmosphere is Mariam Abdul-Rashid, who took the top spot on the medal podium an astonishing six times, crossing the line first in each of the 100m, 200m, 300m, 4x100m, sprint medley relay and 4x400m relay.

"She's so much fun. It's so easy to work with an athlete like that," says Sharpe. "I don't think she's missed one practice in a year. She doesn't miss practice.

"It's not because she's looking forward to the work, it's the camaraderie with the other girls that you don't often see in track and field being an individual sport."

The meet was a fitting end to a spectacular season for the club that started in 2006 and continues to make positive strides. Among the other medal winners were: Brandon Bobb (U18) gold 4x100m relay, bronze 100m; Josh Cunningham (U18) gold 4x100m relay, silver 400m; Myles Williams (U18) gold 4x100m relay, 4th 400m; Keyshawn Cumberbatch (U16) gold 4x100m relay, gold sprint medley relay; Treshaun Abraham-Webster (U16) bronze triple jump; Tacuma Anderson-Richards (U18) gold long jump, gold triple jump, silver high jump; Taylor Sharpe (U18) gold 4x100m relay, gold 4x400m relay, bronze 400m; Zack Lateit (U16) gold 4x100m relay, gold pentathlon; Yazin Joseph (U18) 6th 110mh, 16th 200m: Yanic Joseph (U16) fifth shot put.

"We absolutely peaked at the right time," notes Sharpe of the success.

While the 42-member club is predominately involved in running, hurdles, vertical and horizontal jumping, the fifth in shot put by Yanic Joseph was a welcomed addition. Sharpe says as the club continues to grow, throwing disciplines is an area they will expand to if the numbers warrant it.

The club will be taking a well-deserved break for about a month before embarking on training for the indoor season.


Canada's Morales Williams riding with confidence as NCAA indoor 400m champion Morales Williams riding success with confidence.

Christopher Morales Williams

Christopher Morales Williams, of Vaughan, Ont., is seen in action for the University of Georgia during the NCAA Southeastern Conference indoor championships, in Fayetteville, Ark., in a Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-University of Georgia, Wesley Hitt, *MANDATORY CREDIT* GAC

The switch flipped for Christopher Morales Williams in the time of the 2023 outdoor season.

Last spring, the runner from Vaughan, Ont., learned to control his negative thoughts, discovered that it was OK to feel nervous before races, and built his confidence.

Morales Williams credits the change in philosophy for the recent addition of NCAA national champion to his growing resume.