Lions on the prowl

Ryan Cooke
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Truro throwers hunting for medals at national track and field championships

LANGLEY, B.C. – Riley Jennings may be a long way from home, but he still has his buddies, and now he has a new piece of hardware around his neck.

Drew Erskine, left, Gregory McCarthy and Riley Jennings are at the Canadian Legion National Championships in Langley, B.C., this weekend where they are gunning for medals. Jennings, 17, picked up a silver medal on Friday night in the discus throw.

The 17-year-old Truro Lions athlete, well rounded in discus, shot put and hammer, launched a 49.19-metre throw on Friday night, good enough to finish up with an under-18 discus silver medal at the 2014 Canadian Legion Track and Field Championships.

“I knew I had it in me,” Jennings said afterwards. “I knew I could throw with the best of them, but I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little surprised when I let that one go.”

Jennings was joined in competition of Friday by fellow Lions teammate Drew Erskine, who placed fifth with a 45.40-metre toss.

“It’s great having my friends here with me,” Jennings said. “We’ve been friends for, oh jeez, forever. So to have them here just makes the experience a whole lot easier.

Jennings, Erskine and teammate Gregory McCarthy made the trek to British Columbia this weekend for the largest national event for track and field athletes.

Well-rounded in discus, shot put and hammer throw, all three boys are in the hunt for more medals.

“In a perfect world, ideally, I’d love to see myself win a medal,” McCarthy said. “But realistically, I’ll be very happy with a top-six finish in either event.”

McCarthy, who will compete in hammer and shot put, spent Friday morning without his teammates, as they geared up for the discus throw.

“It certainly helps a tonne having them here,” the 16-year-old said. “It’s huge having people around who you are familiar and comfortable with. It makes it a lot easier on the nerves.”

This will be McCarthy’s third time at the Legion championships, having previously picked up a gold medal in shot put in the under-16 division.

Having past experience helps a lot, he said.

“It’s been really big for my confidence, for sure,” he said. “I’ve made some really big improvements over this season and to have that past experience to think back on, it helps to know I belong here.”

The boys will be action this morning, with McCarthy and Jennings among the field of 21 throwers in shot put. Sunday morning, McCarthy and Erskine will heave away at the hammer throw, an event Erskine holds the under-16 national record in.

Geographic location: British Columbia

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