Photo by Don Fennell
The standard ice hockey rink is 60.96 metres, or 200 feet, long. Think about that for a moment, because that’s how far—and then some—Camryn Rogers’ hammer throw travelled Saturday during the third annual Richard Collier Big Kahuna ThrowsFest at Minoru Park.
After fouling on three previous attempts, Rogers, who won’t even be 18 for another couple of weeks, made the most of her sixth and final turn to eclipse her own personal record with a throw of 61.50 metres. What’s more, the mark improves her previous best of 61.01 metres realized just over a month ago at Simon Fraser University’s Emillie Mondor invitational in Burnaby. The 61.50 metres is also a new Canadian junior (18- to 20-years-old) women’s record, and qualifies Rogers for this summer’s Junior Pan American Games July 21 to 23 in Trujillo, Peru.
“I’m (always) just shooting for as far as I can throw. You always want to throw your best,” said Rogers, a member of the Richmond Kajaks Track and Field Club, who was proud to set the mark at the meet dedicated in memory of her first club coach.
“Having Camryn set a national record is great,” said her current Kajaks’ coach Garett Collier, who is Richard’s son. “She probably left two bigger throws out there but she knows that. It’s good to know where your training is, and it speaks volumes of where she can go this year.”
Setting records is seemingly becoming old hat for Rogers, who has been on a continuous upward trend since she first joined the Kajaks and began training under Richard Collier’s tutelage in 2012. But, and a key to her success, Rogers never takes any experience for granted. Even a fault can be turned into a positive.
“(When) you fault you want to try and do better on your next throw, almost like to make up for that one,” she said. “You just have to relax and lay it out on the field. If you tense up you can’t throw.”
Rogers said her focus since she began training this year has been on improving the start of her throws.
“The entry sets up everything in your turns. I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of it, but there are always ways to improve. We’re just trying to get there.”
The provincial high school championships, May 31 to June 2 at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park, are next on Rogers’ itinerary. She won the senior girls’ hammer throw event last year with a distance of 59.15 metres, and also took top honours in the shot put with a throw of 13.33 metres. Both marks were new event records she hopes to improve on. She is aiming to break 14.50 metres in the shot put this year, and attained a mark of 13.68 metres at a high school meet hosted by the University of Washington in February.
Heavily recruited by several U.S. schools, Rogers finally settled on the University of California-Berkeley where she will follow in the footsteps of other Kajaks greats of the past—notably fellow throwers Jennifer Joyce and current coach Garrett Collier.
But between now and when she sets foot at Berkeley in September, the Grade 12 McMath secondary school student has plenty more to do.
“We’ll just see how much further we can get from here,” she concluded.