Richmond Kajaks and R.A. McMath hammer star Camryn Rogers is a world-class talent. (Photo through the kind permission of The Richmond News/Gord Goble)
Feature High School Track & Field

Camryn Rogers: Golden farewell likely for McMath standout

RICHMOND — Maybe the most amazing thing about Camryn Rogers’ vast skills as a thrower?

How about the fact that at the upcoming B.C. high school championships (June 1-3 at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park), she could break the longest standing record on the books in an event that isn’t even her specialty.

No female B.C. high school thrower, in the decade-plus since Kitsilano’s Liz Gleadle began her pre-Olympic launch in the javelin, has made as great an impact in her respective events than Rogers, a senior at Richmond’s R.A. McMath Secondary.

If all she had done was to throw for 13.76 metres in the shot put, like she did at a meeting in Bellingham last season, there would be plenty to discuss regarding her bid to top the 13.92-metre record which University Hill’s Joan Pavelich set in 1971.

But of course Rogers is very quickly becoming known as one of the continent’s best in the hammer throw, an event in which has not only helped her earn a Pac 12 scholarship to California-Berkeley next season, but hit a spot in her training that has allowed her to constantly challenge personal-best marks with every throw.

After throwing a personal-best 59.73 metres on May 21 of last season, Rogers spent the rest of that outdoor campaign in an unsuccessful chase to better it.

Factor in her winter off-season, and it was 322 days (April 8) before she finally broke it, uncorking a 61.01 metre throw at Simon Fraser’s Emilie Mondor Memorial Invitational to re-write her own Canadian junior national record.

This time however, the span between PB’s lasted just 42 days because this past Saturday, Rogers did it again, this time with a throw of 61.50 metres.

“When there is such a long times between PB’s, you are always keeping your goal in mind,” says Rogers, 17. “And you have to always think, that with your training, your attention to technique, and everything that you do, that there is always the possibility (of a personal best). And that is what I love about this sport so much, how much more there is that you can always do.”

For Rogers, the breakthroughs are starting to come more frequently because of both her base of accomplishments and the daily example she has seen and become a part of while working under head coach Garrett Collier at Kajaks.

“For example, she has really gotten to see how a lot of (older) athletes, like Tyrell, are training,” says Collier of former high school basketball star Tyrell Mara, who at the age of 29 is in the midst of attempting to qualify for Tokyo 2020 in the discus. “By seeing that, she knows what serious lifting in the weight room is all about and how much dedication there has to be in learning how to compete.”

And fittingly, two of her last three personal best throws have come on the same weekend, one year apart, at the Richard Collier Big Kahuna Throws Festival, a meet named for her former coach and Garrett’s dad, and staged at Richmond’s Minoru Park.

“Richard, and then Garrett have both always just wanted what is best for me,” begins Rogers, who on NCAA signing day had a framed picture of herself and Richard Collier on the desk in which she inked her official papers to Cal-Berkeley. “I think about all the three-hour training sessions we’ve done together, all the time they have put in.

“There is only so much you can do on your own,” she adds. “You look back to your family and friends and they pick you up when you are down. If I’ve ever doubted my abilities, they have been there for me. My support network means everything to me.”

And if this particularly period of productivity continues to find legs throughout the summer, Rogers will be giving that network plenty to cheer about.

The potential of double-gold and double meet records will be a focal point at the B.C. high school meet.

And the come early July, Rogers will be taking her hammer to Ottawa for the Canadian junior national championships.

“She is definitely in a different environment,” says Collier. “She is at 60 or 61(metres) in most of her meets and she still hasn’t hit her peak yet (this season).”

Hammer and shot put aren’t exactly mutually beneficial events, yet the chase of a long-standing record and the fun Rogers has throwing the shot have been enough for her to dedicate some of her time to the event.

Yet as an NCAA Div. 1 career beckons, and with the IAAF World Junior (U-20) championships set for July of 2018 in Tampere, Finland, the hammer throw will soon beg for her undivided attention.

“The overall plan is to make the World Juniors next year,” says Collier. “And Camryn doesn’t just want to go there as a participant.”

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