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Dedication and commitment lead Ponask to podium


When Ethan Ponask won three medals at high school track and field provincials, it came as no surprise to those who know him.
The Winnipegosis Collegiate student-athlete won two gold medals at the provincials event and set a new provincial record in the process.
Ponask set a new record in the para-intellectual boys shot put with a throw of 9.83-m and won gold in the para-intellectual boys 100-m dash, with a time of 14.27 seconds.
Ponask also won a silver medal in the para-intellectual boys 200-m dash, finishing in a time of 29.87 seconds.
His coach, Jeremy Gilfoy, said the 17-year-old Ponask is a fantastic athlete to coach.
“He’s dedicated. He practices hard. He always wants to run. He wants to practice his shot put. He’s always asking me is there extra time available over the lunch hour, so he could practice some more leading up to the meet. He’s a dream,” he said.
“He runs his own training program and he asks for help, so we get him involved in our weight room a little bit, too, just to help him with strength training.”
Because of Ponask’s past performances, he was expected to do well at provincials. He won two gold medals and a silver at the track and field regionals in Dauphin, before heading to Winnipeg.
“It was right within the realm of expectation for Ethan. And he certainly delivered. I was pleasantly surprised with the meet record, though,” Gilfoy said.
Ponask is graduating from Winnipegosis Collegiate this year and will join the work life transition program at the Dauphin Regional Comprehensive Secondary School this fall. Gilfoy said he wants to be a bus driver one day.
There are many things Gilfoy enjoys about working with Ponask, including his enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to reaching his goals in track and field.
Dana Smaluck, a teacher at Winnipegosis Collegiate, describes Ponask as an all-around good student.
“He’s always smiling. He’s happy walking around the halls. He’s excited about his future. He’s very focused on what he likes, so when it comes to track, he’s very dedicated,” she said.
When he attends the DRCSS this fall, Smaluck said, Ponask will be taking some vocational areas, such as automotive and woods, as well as band.
“He loves playing guitar and the drums. But he’s very interested in doing automotive and woods classes. He just wants to pursue that area a little more. And then he might be working at the Almost New Store, as well,” she added.
Students at the school are always supportive of Ponask. Smaluck noted he won medals at provincials two years ago and always walks around proudly wearing them.
“And kids are high-fiving. He had his provincial track hoodie on, too. They’re very proud of him.” she said.
Everyone at the school, Smaluck said, is proud of Ponask and his accomplishments and he serves as a great role model for all other students.
“He represented our school really well, so we just really hope that his future is bright,” she said, adding he also hopes to become a track coach one day.

Doug Zywina