Norfolk duo nabs silver at national track competition
Norfolk's Daunte Henriques and Ashley Spain stand with silver medals won at the 2017 National Legion Track and Field Championships in Brandon, Manitoba earlier this month. (Contributed Photo)
No amount of pain was going to keep Delhi’s Ashley Spain from the podium at the 2017 National Legion Track and Field Championships.
Spain and fellow Norfolk resident Daunte Henriques headed to Brandon, Manitoba earlier this month to compete alongside the very best in Canada.
As she prepared for her sixth and final toss in the midget girls javelin event, Spain was encouraged to give everything she had.
“I actually (threw a personal best) three times that day - it kept getting higher and higher,” Spain pointed out. “That last throw, my dad (Dan) was over the fence, he looks at me and says ‘let it all go, I will pop your shoulder back in place if I need to’.”
Spain’s heave totalled 41.11m, good for a silver medal.
“It was awesome,” she said. “A lot of adrenaline hit me – as soon as I heard that 41 metres I was like ‘oh my God, silver medal’.”
Spain also finished just beyond the podium in the midget girls pole vault. The soon-to-be Grade 10 student at Delhi District Secondary School was fourth with a leap of 2.80m, but it was her javelin result that will catch the most eyes given she started throwing one day before her high school meet in May.
“If it weren’t for my dad I probably wouldn’t be doing javelin right now. He was the one that got me started,” Spain said. “I was like ‘Hey dad, I want to do javelin in school’ so he grabbed this old javelin we had and the tip was broke off – it wasn’t the greatest. He gets me out in the backyard throwing and says ‘you do all this tomorrow and you’ll be good’.”
Spain was also assisted by DDSS pole vault coach Jodi Snowden during her journey.
“I’m thankful for the support I’ve had and the sacrifice they made for me to get up to Manitoba was huge,” she said. “It was a great experience and I’m glad I got to go.”
Henriques continued his string of strong national performances in Brandon despite being hampered by injury leading up to the meet. The Vanessa native has battled both pneumonia and a hamstring tear this season but still managed to help a group representing the Hamilton Olympic Club finish second in the 4x100m youth relay.
“It was really nice, I felt good and my team felt good,” he said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get the gold, but stuff happens and maybe next time. With me just coming back our team wasn’t fully at its best.”
Henriques also ran the youth 100m dash in a time of 11.13s, missing out on the finals by just .09s. The same thing happened in the youth 200m preliminaries when Henriques registered 22.70s.
“My times were close to my best times,” said Henriques, who enters Grade 11 at DDSS next month. “So just coming back I felt pretty good with my times and my results.”
As mentioned, Henriques is no stranger to the national stage so he couldn’t help but marvel at what Spain accomplished in such a short period of time.
“I’m impressed with what she did,” he offered while also congratulating all medallists at the games. “She’s only been doing (javelin) this year and she’s doing good.”