Stryker Zablocki (left) and Storm Zablocki compete on the track.

P.A. siblings tearing up the track on way to international meets

A pair of Prince Albert siblings who’ve spent their lives chasing athletic goals are making their national team debuts with Athletics Canada this summer.

Stryker Zablocki, 16, and Storm Zablocki, 19, will both represent their country in the 100 metres in the coming weeks. Stryker will compete at the NACAC U18/U23 Championships taking place July 21-23 in Costa Rica and Storm will don his national team kit a few weeks later at the U20 Pan American Championships, happening in Puerto Rico from Aug. 4-6.

“I’m excited to represent the country and make them proud; honestly, that’s always been my goal,” Storm says. “And I don’t just want to compete. I want to do my best and make sure that I’ve put my whole ability into the competition.”

Storm and Stryker have spent their whole lives playing sports — something they attribute to their parents modelling a healthy lifestyle and encouraging them to be active. Both threw themselves into hockey at a young age and the sport remains Stryker’s primary focus. “Track is kind of a side sport that I like to do to train for hockey,” she explains.

Storm, who will enter his second year of business studies at the University of Regina this fall, only gave up hockey at the beginning of Gr. 10 to focus on track and field. “In hockey I was never a star player like my sister,” he says. With track though, he seems to have found his groove. He made national headlines in May when he tied the Canadian U20 100m record first set by multiple Olympic medallist Andre de Grasse in 2013.

That record-tying run, which is also a Saskatchewan 100m record, came at the Bob Vigars Classic in London, Ont. when Storm lined up against much older and experienced athletes.

“I love competition and if you put me in a situation where others might feel pressure, that’s my bread and butter. I kind of thrive on that stuff,” Storm says. He finished fourth in the final with a time of 10.25 seconds. He’s already thinking about the training he’ll need to put in to run even faster as he eyes a future as a professional runner.

Stryker, who is looking ahead to next month when she will participate in Hockey Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team selection camp, says her best race of the season came at a Twilight meet in Regina when she had an opportunity to line up alongside Saskatoon hurdler Michelle Harrison, a two-time national champion in the 100-metre hurdles.

“She’s super fast and that’s actually where I ran my fastest time against her because it was just obviously a challenge to try and keep up to her,” Stryker says.

Despite her recent success on the track, Stryker says she has no plans to hang up her skates and focus on sprinting. She has ambitions of playing NCAA Division I hockey in the States after graduating high school and has her sights set on making a national team and playing professionally.

“I can’t focus on track as much as hockey or else then I might not do as well in hockey,” she says. “But I like to use track as a tool for hockey and I’ll keep on doing that as long as I can. And I’ll probably do it forever while I’m playing hockey.”

As the siblings prepare for their national team debuts, they appear as excited for each other as they are for themselves. It’s always been that way, they say, without much sibling rivalry when it comes to their athletic pursuits.

“Both of us put so much hard work into our sports — track and hockey — and I think it’s just good to see that it’s starting to pay off,” Stryker says. “Especially for Storm. As his little sister I love to see it because I know it’s been a dream of his for literally his entire life. So I’m super happy.”

Stryker races in the NACAC U18/U23 Championships 100m semifinal on July 21. Storm will line up in the qualifying heat of the 100m in the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Langley, B.C. on July 27. He will then head to Puerto Rico for the U20 Pan American Championships.

Stryker is the only Saskatchewan athlete on Canada’s NACAC U18/U23 team. Storm is one of two athletes representing Canada at the U20 Pan American Championships; he is joined by Daniella Oyenuga of Saskatoon, who is presently training at the University of Pennsylvania, will compete in the women’s long jump.