Raising one’s game to the monumental heights of OFSAA champion is tough enough in its own right.
Now try doing it as a massive underdog—and throw in an undiagnosed concussion for good measure.
That mind-boggling combination is exactly what Grade 9 Muskie athlete Sekina Scheibler encountered on his way to capturing the gold medal in the Midget boys’ discus at the OFSAA track-and-field championships Saturday in Toronto.
“It felt amazing . . . I don’t even know how to describe it,” said Scheibler, whose third-round throw of 44.25m stood up against the rest of the 24 entrants in the six-round event.
“The common idea I had coming in was that I wanted first, but that the rest of the guys were too big, and competed and trained all year-round, so I wasn’t expecting to do well,” he admitted.
Matthew Martin of the Bishop Allen Cardinals (Etobicoke), who had a fourth-round toss of 43.37m, had two more chances to catch Scheibler.
But Martin fouled on both his last throws, with the second violation clinching gold for Scheibler.
“[Martin] fouled and I thought, ‘I can’t believe I just did this,’” recalled Scheibler, who threw one attempt for 44.20m during practice in the days leading up to OFSAA.
The victory marked just the third known individual in Muskie history to earn a provincial gold medal beyond the championship boys’ hockey teams of 1986, 1989, and 2001.
Scheibler followed in the footsteps of fellow track-and-field athlete Darren McFee, who won in junior boys’ discus back in 1978, and swimmer Donovan Taylor’s back-to-back triumphs in the 200m I.M. in 2011 and 2012.
But he almost never made the trip to Toronto at all.
Scheibler absorbed a big hit during the Muskie football team’s annual spring camp just days before Fort High’s track-and-field contingent left for OFSAA.
Feeling no ill effects at the time, Scheibler headed to OFSAA and overcame the odds of being ranked 21st out of the 24 competitors in the discus.
But during his second event Saturday (the long jump), Scheibler started feeling so out of sorts, he spiked himself in the leg on one of his attempts.
He wound up 16th after his best leap reached 5.39m.
Shamir Khan of the Glenview Park Panthers (Cambridge) captured first place (6.35m).
“As they were attending to my wounds after the long jump, I felt like I was going to pass out—and then I did,” said Scheibler, who quickly was rushed to the hospital after fainting—forcing him to pull out of his third event at OFSAA (shot put) later in the day.
Tests conducted on Scheibler found he had suffered a concussion—likely related to the incident at football camp.
“I didn’t know I even had a concussion,” he remarked.
“I guess all the spinning from the discus event, and then the sudden stops in the long jump, made the symptoms come back,” he reasoned.
Scheibler also topped the discus field despite encountering his first experience of throwing while in a closed-in cage during the competition.
“I usually throw in the open air,” he noted.
“But the one thing coach [throwing specialist Jordan Botsford] always told me was that it was about the process, not the distance,” Scheibler added.
“I just had to focus on my technique over and over again and stay mentally strong.”
Scheibler gave the lion’s share of the credit to Botsford for helping him develop his golden touch.
“[Botsford] was amazing,” he lauded. “He devoted so much time to the throwers.
“Most times, practice would be done at 4:30 [p.m.] and I’d want to stay until 5:30, and he’d stay with me and go over video and break down what I was doing.
“I couldn’t have done it without him.”
Now that he’s set the highest of bars for himself, Scheibler fully intends to maintain the high standard next season.
“Now that I know I can do it, I just have to put the effort forward,” he reasoned.
“If everyone else is training all year, I have to, as well, if I hope to get the same results.”
Three other Muskies also qualified for OFSAA but were unable to replicate Scheibler’s success in Toronto.
Team captain Jenny Hammond has a pair of 23rd-place finishes out of 24 starters in the heats for the senior girls’ 400m (1:04.68) and 800m (2:39.18), the second of which matched her result in the same event at OFSAA last year.
Mitchell Argue, meanwhile, placed 20th out of 24 entrants in the senior boys’ 100m (11.53).
He also was 21st in the 400m in 52.39, which bettered his NWOSSAA-winning time in Thunder Bay the previous week by more than 1.5 seconds.
And Jason Bazylewski landed in 23rd in the field of 24 for the junior boys’ discus, recording a best distance of 32.36m.
Tony Elliott of the Sacred Heart Crusaders (Walkerton) took the gold (56.21m).