A busy summer of training and competing was worth it for Prince Albert Athletics teammates Emily Cole-Johnson and Shelaine Pritchard.
Having brought him home medals from a tri-province meet in Regina last month, the pair were able to make the podium this past weekend in Sydney, N.S. at the 2019 National Legion Track and Field Championships.
“This summer was a lot busier than usual as we did our training in Saskatoon and it was more than I had done in the past,” Pritchard said. “It was great to have a chance to go back to the nationals again and it allows me to push myself to have even better results going forward.
“There was a lot of hard work that went into this meet and it was a pretty busy summer as a result of our training, but it was an amazing experience,” Cole-Johnson added. “I love competing and I get a lot of joy out of it.”
Pritchard reached the top of the podium in the under-16 pentathlon event, which saw her compete in the 80-metre hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800m events.
“A lot of my training was for those events, especially the 800m as that was a distance that I needed to get used to,” Pritchard said.
“I think I had a 200-point lead going into the last event (the 800m) so I wanted to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes. I was really happy with how that race went as I was able to cut down my personal best time quite a bit.”
Pritchard, who competed at last year’s Legion Nationals in Brandon, Man., also won a silver medal in the U16 4x100m relay alongside teammates Lexi Derenoski, Josie Seabrook and Kendyl Dziadyk.
“I think it was a bit of a surprise that we won a medal,” Pritchard said. “No one really expected us to do that well, especially since we only had one girl from our team (Derenoski) compete in the 100m during the meet as we were all focused on other events.
“We came in as an underdog and we just built off of that.”
Cole-Johnson, who was competing in the under-18 division, teamed up with Paige Willems, Savannah Sutherland and Timi Adelugba to win a silver medal in the 4x100m relay.
“To come from a small province and win a silver medal against the top athletes from across the country was really cool,” Cole-Johnson said.
“We started off the event in the slow heat and Paige already had a huge lead over everyone at the start. I think we were 20m ahead of everybody at the end, so we gained a lot of confidence from that.”
Unlike Pritchard, this marked the first time that Cole-Johnson had been a part of the Legion meet, though she had attended tryouts for the team in the past.
“To be honest, I didn’t think it would be that big until I arrived there,” Cole-Johnson said. “It’s pretty amazing to be part of something like that and it was also great to see that many kids who are into track and field like I am.
“There was some anxiousness as I was getting ready for my events, but I learned how to calm those nerves down and that’s something I’m looking to improve upon in the future ahead of the indoor season in January.”