Two athletes from the Cowichan Valley narrowly missed the podium at the Legion National Track and Field Championships in Sherbrook, Que. on Aug. 5-7, but both established new personal bests.
Cobble Hill’s Nova Wedmann-Kent placed fourth in the U16 women’s high jump and was on the fourth-place B.C. 4x100m relay team, and Duncan’s Connor Hengstler finished fifth in the U18 men’s discus and 12th in shot put.
Wedmann-Kent set a new personal best of 1.58m in high jump and now ranks second in the province. The B.C. 4x100m relay team couldn’t have been closer to the podium, missing the bronze medal by 0.01 seconds.
“It was amazing to be a part of Team BC and to compete with the top athletes in the country,” Wedmann-Kent said. “Even though I had hoped to get a medal in high jump or the 4x100m relay, I was really close to getting the bronze in both events and I jumped a new personal best height of 1.58m. My plan is to train hard and qualify for the Legion National Championships back in Quebec in 2023.”
While Kent attended Legions as a member of Team BC, Hengstler went as a representative of the Cowichan Valley Athletic Club. Seeded ninth in discus in Canada going into the meet, he beat his previous personal best by about four metres. He placed 12th in shot put, in which he was also seeded ninth prior to Legions.
“It was pretty surreal,” Hengstler said. “I didn’t expect to get that far [to nationals]. I guess no one does. I wasn’t expecting to do as well as I did. It was an amazing experience.”
Part of that experience, Hengstler noted, was the French cuisine he got to enjoy in Quebec.
“That was one of the main reasons I wanted to go,” he admitted.
Wedmann-Kent and Hengstler — who are both coached by their moms, Brenda Kent and Julia Hengstler — were also tremendously successful at the BC Championship Jamboree in Kamloops in early July. Wedmann-Kent won gold in high jump, while Hengstler took gold in shot put and discus, and bronze in hammer.
Wedmann-Kent will be returning to her club, while Hengstler is heading to Vancouver Island University this fall to study computer science and will be transferring from the CVACs to the Nanaimo Track and Field Club. Both athletes have their sights set on another trip to nationals next year.