Grade 12 Student Wilson O’Neill’s start to 2019 has set a blistering pace for his expectations this year. After finding success at two National tournaments in the U.S. and committing to Western University for September, Wilson is setting his sights on finishing his CDS career with success at OFSAA and aims to be a member of the U20 Pan Am team competing in Costa Rica this summer.
His incredible year started at the Spire Showcase Meet in Ohio in February. The SPIRE Institute is an athletic juggernaut in the United States, known for training future professional athletes across many sports. Wilson knew this and had no expectations in the 60m hurdles, but told his coach Ms. Steadman that his goal was to make the finals, which he achieved in spades. “I don’t think anyone expected me to win it. I was in shock; it didn’t sink in until the long car ride home.”
His success at SPIRE qualified him for the New Balance Indoor National Championships in New York City. This major track meet brings some of the best 60m indoor athletes from across the United States into an incredible complex in downtown New York. He explains, “I had no idea what to expect, but the Nationals were insane. The Armory is a 60,000 square foot arena and four-story track facility in the middle of downtown New York.” Wilson was the only Canadian to compete in the “Championship Event”.
It was unlike any other meet he has ever been to, surrounded by such incredible athletes and an electric atmosphere. “I’ve never been so nervous in the starting block, my arms were shaking!” Wilson was proud to have made the semi-finals, just missing out on the final by a one-hundredth of a second.
Not long after, Wilson competed in the Ontario Indoor Championships 60m hurdles which he won and tied his personal best of 7.97, matching his time at SPIRE. He hopes to achieve the same results versus many of the same competitors this spring at OFSAA in the 110 and 400m hurdles.
Wilson’s CDS coach, Denise Steadman, believes his decision to train for hurdles all year has been critical to his success thus far and will help him in achieving his ultimate goal of making the U20 Pan Am team competing in Costa Rica this July. “Although Wilson did not have his best race in New York, his times still earned him a spot as one of the top sprint hurdlers in Canada for his age group. Even with all of his success this winter, Wilson still remains humble which is a refreshing quality in sports.”
When prompted about the distance travelled to run such a short race, Wilson explains it’s all mental. “All that time waiting, adds to the pressure of hopefully running no more than eight seconds. I try not to think about it before [the race]. I just remember what I’m there to do when the time comes.”
Next year Wilson is attending Western University’s Ivey School of Business and will compete for the Mustangs on Western’s Track team.