OLDS — Local throwing athlete Adam Jorgenson is gearing up for one last meet Aug. 21-22, but others training with coach Rachel Andres – including Andres herself – are taking a much-needed break from competition.
Andres made a supreme effort last year and this spring to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, but in the end, didn’t quite make it. Injuries and meets cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were factors.
“Now I am taking my much-needed break to regroup and recover mentally and physically from the stresses and heartbreak of the last 18 months,” she wrote in an email.
“I have hopes that next year will be a normal season, as I will be starting from scratch and trying to qualify for Canadian national teams with my world ranking reset to zero.
“It will be my first year in the masters category, so there are several Canadian records and one world record for that age group that I will also be aiming for in my quest to be on the 2022 national teams.”
She hopes to make 2022 Canadian teams for the world championships, Pan Am Games, and the Commonwealth Games.
If Andres wants to make the team for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France, she’ll have to qualify all over again.
After failing to qualify for the 2020 Olympic team at the end of June, Andres regrouped and competed during a meet in Calgary on July 21, setting a new meet discus record of 56.63 metres (m).
She set another meet record four days later with a throw of 56.29 m, during the CALTAF Classic Open, also held in Calgary.
“That is my best throwing from that ring for both of those meets, as the meet records have been mine for many years now. So beating those meet records put me in high spirits and high hopes for our final meet,” Andres wrote.
Andres threw a 55.59 m in discus and 14.56 m in shotput, enabling her to win both competitions and set a new meet record in shotput.
“I had been hoping to come back where I was supposed to be at this point in the season for discus, but that was not meant to be. The May and June shutdown really messed with my forward momentum and my mental health,” she wrote.
“Training had originally been planned to peak in mid-May and have the Olympic standard completed. Then I would have rested for a week or two in June to prepare for the Olympics and a second peak for Aug. 3.
“We were hopeful that the province would allow Olympic athletes the opportunity to compete in small, five-person competitions throughout May so as not to interrupt the training cycle and give us the best opportunity to make the Olympic team. So training had to continue as planned, not knowing when we might be given last-minute permission and my peak came and went during the forced isolation.
“I wasn’t able to restart the ball rolling after that. I had to pick up every single meet available instead of taking my scheduled rest,” she added.
Andres not only coaches athletes in Olds, but also works with others out of Calgary and Edmonton. She even works remotely with one athlete from Saskatchewan.
She and some of her athletes travelled to Sherwood Park for provincials, held Aug. 6-8.
During the provincials, Jorgenson placed second in shotput in the U18 division with a new personal best throw of 13.89 m.
Andres said as a result of that throw, Jorgenson is ranked ninth in his category in the country.
“But he is hungry to throw further," she wrote.
“He fouled five throws in that competition that were more than two metres over his marked throw; hence why he wants to compete again in the very last meet this year.”
Jorgenson also placed second in discus throw with a toss of 39.05 m which left him ranked number 12 in Canada in his category.
Ethan Johnstone is another local athlete with great promise.
In his track and field debut, he threw the discus 21.03 m to finish third in the competitive U14 boys age division.
Johnstone will move up to the U16 division next year “which will open up quite a few more competition opportunities for him across the province,” Andres wrote.
“Many of the meets this year were U16 and up, so this was his first and only opportunity to compete in his age group since he began training with me earlier in the summer.”