Town honours Austin Ingram
Sean Chase/Daily Observer Petawawa Mayor Bob Sweet presents Austin Ingram with a certificate of recognition congratulating the Valour High School student on winning a gold medal in the boys visually impaired 100-metre sprint during the recent 2017 Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Cross-Country Championships held at Petawawa.
PETAWAWA – Town council honoured one of the community's rising athletic stars who already has gold-winning accomplishments on his resume.
Austin Ingram, a grade 10 visually impaired student from Valour High School who has been tearing up the track over the past year, was recognized by the town last week for his recent provincial championship gold medal victory in the 100-metre run.
However, Austin's feat also set a new record at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Track and Field Championships in Belleville this past June running the 100-metre dash in 11.99 seconds. The previous record was 12.24 seconds. The runner also finished in fourth place in the 800-metre run. This is even more impressive when you consider he only began seriously competing when he entered high school in September 2016.
“He had always been a fast runner,” explained Councillor Gary Serviss, who also teaches and coaches at Valour.
Austin's speed on the track was noticed when he attended try-outs for the high school's track team. His coaches, Rick Schroeder and Julie Crouzat, actually considered him for the midget boys 100-metre dash when the school entered competition at the county level.
“He was running so fast that he created a dilemma,” added Serviss. “His coaches weren't sure if they should run him in the regular races or the visually impaired category.”
Austin went on to take first place in the visually impaired 100-metre dash at the countys and anchored the midget boys 4x100 team which also won gold. He advanced to the Eastern Ontario Secondary School Athletic Association (EOSSAA) where he captured gold in the boys 100-metre visually impaired dash. His next stop was the East Regionals where he won the 100-metre dash in 12.18 seconds, and first place in the 800-metre run with a time of two minutes, 39 seconds.
In addition to his own race at the provincial championships, Austin ran as part of the Valour 4x100-metre relay where they finished 19th. This marked the first time that a team from Valour and the former General Panet High School had advanced to the provincial championship. Austin is also the first visually impaired runner in the history of both schools as well as the fastest midget boy on record for both Valour and Panet.
“He hopes to keep running fast, setting records and bringing his team to more championships, but he also wants to one day make it to the Para Olympics,” said Serviss.
Mayor Bob Sweet praised Austin as a stellar athletes and inspirational individual within his community.
“I am sure you will go on to bigger and better things, Austin,” said Sweet. “You are going to make everyone proud of you in the community.”