© John DeCoste
Alex Rawding of Launchers Athletics competes in shot put at the 2014 Throw for Autism May 17 in Port Williams. The event raised slightly over $1,000 for the Valley branch of Autism Nova Scotia. - John DeCoste, www.kingscountynews.ca
The first throwing meet for Launchers Athletics for the 2014 season saw some spirited competition, but the biggest plus was the slightly more than $1,000 the event raised for the Valley branch of Autism Nova Scotia.
Billed as the 2014 Throw for Autism, the May 17 competition was held at the Launch Pad throwing facility in Port Williams.
Launchers founder and head coach Steve Wohlmuth said he chose autism because it’s close to his heart.
“My daughter Heidi is autistic. It’s become a big part of our family’s life, and the local chapter of the Autism Society here in the Valley has been tremendously supportive,” Wohlmuth said, adding that their family has a ‘Team Heidi’ entered in the Autism Nova Scotia walk June 14.
The money raised at the throwing meet will go to support programs for youth and young adults with autism.
“It’s great to see athletes giving to others. Thank-you, everyone, so much,” he said.
On the field, competition took place in all four throwing disciplines – hammer, shot put, discus and javelin – and in a number of age and skill categories.
In the hammer throw, Annie McCarthy won the midget girls with a throw of 24.48 metres. Other winners included Jesse Colborne, Drew Erskine, Greg McCarthy and Nathan Burris. Erskine had the top throw of the day, a 56.05 metre result.
Burris had the top result in shot put, a 14.11 metre throw in the senior division. Other division winners included Ruth Hall (midget girls), Josh Bell (midget boys), Erskine (youth), Taylor Stutely (junior girls), Alex Rawding (junior boys), Jodi Langley (senior girls) and David Bambrick (Paralympic male).
There were only three competitors in javelin. Hall threw 22.25 metres in midget girls, Noah MacPherson 31.78 metres in youth 98, and Randall Morine 34.48 metres in Masters 49.
In discus, Josh Bell had the top throw of the day, a 48.55 heave in the midget boys’ division. Other division winners included Ruth Hall (midget girls), Erskine, Stutely, Rawding, Langley, Bambrick and Burris.
Bell, Rawding (47.68), Stutely (43.14), Burris (42.31), Erskine (42.19) and Langley (41.96) all topped 40 metres with their best throws.
More local participants
The club has more local throwers this year, “which is a good thing,” Wohlmuth said.
For the past few years, the club has been lagging behind somewhat in terms of local-area members, in large part because “a lot of the local kids are multi-sport athletes” who have choices to make as to which sports they concentrate on.
Wohlmuth said he was pleased with the turnout for the first meet of the season.
“The numbers aside, the quality is there, especially given the spring we’ve had,” he said.
The next action for the Launchers club will be the JumpStart Open on June 14 at the Launch Pad.