Jared Elliott knew he belonged with the U18 javelin competition at the Royal Canadian Legion Youth Track and Field Championships, held last weekend in Brandon, Man.
He proved it, though, when he actually got there.
The Brockville Legion thrower knew he completed a good throw as soon as the javelin left his hand. It felt good coming out of there with little strain, said Elliott. He saw the javelin land past the 60-metre mark outlined on the field and all he could say was, “Wow.”
There was probably a lot of people who shared Elliott’s reaction when his 62.85-metre throw was announced to the crowd. The distance ended up earning him a silver medal, while teammate Caleb Lidlow finished with a bronze with a throw of 60.17 metres.
If you go through Elliott’s resume you get the sense he might have been a dark-horse at the competition to even make it to the final with the topeight throwers.
The 17-year-old’s previous personal-best was 50.52 metres. He picked up that distance at the District G championships, which wasn’t good enough to qualify for provincials.
Last year was his first time at nationals and nerves got the best of him. The result was so bad he discarded the result from his mind, but he knows for sure he finished last out of a roughly 20-athlete field.
In a weird way, though, last year’s letdown was the precursor to getting him on the podium this time around.
“I just saw (my result last year) and said, ‘I don’t want to remember that.’I didn’t like what happened, so I wanted to do better this year,” said Elliott. “This year with a lot of the training I knew I was going to do a lot better than I did previously and it all just came together right at the end.”
Shannon Morrison, a physiotherapist from Mallorytown’s Skyward Active Health Centre who traveled with the team to Manitoba, asked Elliott before the competition what he thought he was going to throw. He told her he had his eye on hitting the 53-to-54-metre mark.
“I would have been happy with that,” said Elliott. “I was nowhere near that.”
Something changed in Elliott when he was at nationals. In past meets he would rely on pure muscle to get the javelin down the field.
At the Canadian championships he added technique, which he’s worked on all summer, along with a particular mindset that prepped him for the big-time meet.
“I was really into it and getting focused. Before the competition all my throws, I felt good about them and pretty confident. Everything just came together,” said Elliott. “I started using my legs and then that started to build up. When nationals came everything clicked.”
Elliott, who is going into Grade 12 at St. Mary, didn’t expect to throw what he did at nationals, but he doesn’t think his high number was a fluke either.
“If I prepared again and get back focused I think there’s a possibility,” he said. “Maybe not the 62, I could hit 50s, though.”