Griffiths and Heisterman bring home Legion medals

Siôn Griffiths and Madison Heisterman returned home with silver medals from the Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships.

Cowichan Bay’s Siôn Griffiths and Queen Margaret’s School student Madison Heisterman both returned home with silver medals from the Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships in Ste-Therese, Quebec earlier this month.

Griffiths placed second in the U16 men’s javelin and narrowly missed a second medal in the hammer throw, while Heisterman placed second in the U16 girls 1200m and took third in the 800m.

Griffiths had qualified for Team BC with a personal best of 49.00m at the trials in Nanaimo, but promptly improved on that with a new high mark of 49.56m on his second throw on Aug. 8. He held on to third place going into the sixth and final round when the two boys throwing ahead of him beat his mark, bumping him to fifth. On his last chance, Griffiths put everything he had into the throw and set a new personal best of 51.69m, good enough for the silver medal.

“I asked Siôn what he was thinking as he went into his last throw, and his last chance to get on the podium and he said, ‘throw far,'” Griffiths’s mom, Bonnie, recalled.

In the end, Griffiths’s best throw was 71cm back of first place, but a whole 1.65m ahead of third.

Griffiths competed in the hammer throw the next day. Although he went in seeded second, it wasn’t his day, and he placed fourth with a throw of 42.73m, missing bronze by less than three metres.

Griffiths was also called on to anchor Team BC’s entry in the midget boys 4x100m relay. Put together at the last minute, the quartet included a hurdler, a race walker, a long jumper, and a thrower — Griffiths. Despite not having a full-time sprinter in the bunch, they placed third in their heat to qualify for the final, where they finished sixth overall.

Heisterman put up her best times of the season in her two events. She finished the 1200m in three minutes and 31.66 seconds, just 5.3 seconds back of the winner, who set a new Legions record. Heisterman’s bronze-medal time of 2:11.41 in the 800m was just 0.18 seconds out of first place and 0.07 seconds out of second.

Like Griffiths, Heisterman was also summoned to race in a relay, as part of the U18 4x400m team, where she was one of the youngest runners in the entire race. Her foursome finished fifth with a time of 3:56.90 as the top seven teams all beat the old Legions record.

“Running for Team BC in Quebec was an amazing experience,” Heisterman said. “It was a lot of fun getting the chance to meet so many of Canada’s up-and-coming track and field athletes. Now I’m looking forward to some rest before I begin training for cross-country season.”

Brentwood College School student and Ladysmith product Rachel Jerome brought home a bronze medal in the U18 women’s long jump, with a season best of 5.64m.

Duncan’s Chicago Bains placed fifth in the 100m hurdles, her time of 14.22 seconds missing her season best of 13.84 seconds. Bains also qualified 10th in the 200m dash preliminaries, but did not race in the final.

Left off the provincial squad when Team BC opted not to take any pure sprinters, Casey Heyd ran the 100m dash as an independent, qualifying for the final and placing eighth.

“Of course I wanted to get a medal, like everyone else,” Heyd said. “But to get into the A final was such a feeling of relief and excitement. It was a wonderful weekend all around. It was just amazing.”

Heyd didn’t feel like she had missed out on anything by not being part of Team BC.

“Of course you want to be part of the whole team experience, but I think I got the better hand anyway; I got to have a vacation in Quebec, and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do that.”