After sitting out much of the summer with a shoulder injury, Keely Watts-Watling authored a triumphant conclusion to her track and field season last weekend in Langley.
The 17-year-old multi-skilled athlete from Kelowna put it all together in the youth heptathlon (seven events) to claim the gold medal at the Canadian Legion track and field championships.
The Grade 12 KSS student won the overall title with a final score of 4,786 points, just 64 points ahead of Langley’s Robyn Buckingham.
A member of the Okanagan Athletics Club, Watts-Watling was in second spot after five of the seven events, but pulled into the lead after recording a personal best in the javelin. She then secured gold with a fourth-place showing in the final event, the 800 metres.
Ironically, it was while throwing the javelin back in May at a high school meet in Kelowna that Watts-Watling initially injured her shoulder, limiting her ability to both train and compete for the better part of a month.
It was her first national championship gold medal.
“It was a good weekend for me, really nice to get the gold medal,” said Watts-Watling. “It felt great to get the PB in javelin after I’d been struggling with it so much this season. I came through when I needed to.”
Earlier this season, with her shoulder still on the mend, Watts-Watling failed to qualify for the world youth championship this summer in Ukraine.
As she moves into the junior ranks next year, Watts-Watling will set her sights on trying to make the grade for the world junior championships in July 2014 in Eugene, Ore.
As for longer-term goals in track and field, Watts-Watling is in the process of weighing her post secondary options for the fall of 2014.
“If it works out, I’d prefer to go to a Canadian university with a strong track program,” she said, “but if I go to the States, Oregon would be my first choice.”
Meanwhile, Watts-Watling’s OAC teammate Sean Bergman made it to the podium at the legion nationals in Langley winning silver in the youth men’s steeplechase.
Rostam Turner looks to be in fine form heading into his first season of CIS competition in the men’s decathlon.
The KSS grad won a pair of national bronze medals this summer, including one last weekend at the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que.
Turner, 18, set personal bests in the javelin and 400 metres en route to placing third overall in the 10-event competition with 6,261 points.
Turner, a junior-aged competitor, was forced to adjust to senior level requirements in three events—the discus and shot put were both heavier than in junior, while the 110-metre hurdles were three inches higher (42 to 39).
“It well really well for me,” Turner said of his Canada Games performance. “Being a junior and competing in a senior meet was tough, but I held my own. I had a good two weeks to prepare for it and I felt ready to go.”
Earlier this summer in Ste. Therese, Que., Turner won bronze in decathlon at the Canadian junior track and field championships.
He also captured gold in June at the B.C. high school championships.
The Canada Summer Games medal was bittersweet for Turner who watched his older brother, James, withdraw from the event due to an injury suffered during the high jump.
If not for the unfortunate turn of events, Rostam said James, 20, would likely have won gold.
“I was really disappointed for him,” said Rostam. “He looked like he was going to clean up, then that happened. I didn’t want to see that.”
James Turner won the bronze medal at senior nationals earlier this summer in Moncton.
The Turner brothers will compete together this season with the University of Toronto Blues track team. James is entering his second year at U of T, while Rostam will leave for his first year of post secondary education in Toronto on Aug. 27.