In a gruelling test of 10 track and field events against some of the best youth athletes in Canada, North Vancouver’s Quinn Cameron came out No. 1.
The Sutherland Secondary Grade 11 student can call himself a national champion after claiming gold in decathlon at the 43rd Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships, hosted by Cape Breton University last month in Sydney, N.S.
Cameron not only took the title but also set a new meet record in U18 men's decathlon with a score of 6,195, beating the old record of 6,035.
“As the final results came in, I kept thinking that I’d heard it wrong or they’d be revised and the placements would change,” Cameron wrote in a note to the North Shore News. “I won by an unbelievably slim margin and I’m thankful that my competitors pushed me to perform as I did and demonstrated such great sportsmanship when the results came in.”
The first day of the two-day decathlon featured the 100-metre dash, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400 m. Cameron set a new personal best for Day 1 events, pushed on by his best ever long jump, which topped his old mark by 30 centimetres. Those results put Cameron into third place heading into Day 2, which rounded out the competition with 110-m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and the 1,500-m run. Huge personal best scores in pole vault and javelin powered Cameron into second place heading into the final, soul crushing 1,500.
“The hardest part of a decathlon is maintaining a mental focus from beginning to end,” he said. “I probably spend just as much time preparing myself mentally as I do physically.”
The final race was an epic one, with Alberta’s Winston Clarke winning by more than eight seconds. Cameron finished in third place, but every micro-second counted and he ended up topping Clarke’s total score by one point, 6,195 to 6,194. In all, four athletes topped the meet record, with Cameron coming out on top.
“I never would’ve been able to achieve this result without the dedicated support of my family, my club, B.C. Athletics, and the track community,” said Cameron. “I’d like to recognize my coaches from the NorWesters Track Club by name: Elena Voloshin, Chris Weiss, and Dawn Copping.”
Cameron described what it was like to travel to Cape Breton to compete for Team B.C.
“As our team flew in we were greeted with beautiful views from the plane and live Nova Scotian music in the airport. It’s a great experience to compete as part of the team. We roomed together in the dorms of Cape Breton University and got to know each other well over the course of the competition. My teammates were also very supportive of each other as we all competed in our events, often watching and cheering whenever an athlete raced.”
This was the second multi-event national championship win for Cameron, as he also won the Canadian midget pentathlon championships two years ago.
“Quinn is a very talented, very focused athlete who has trained with NorWesters since he was a very young athlete,” said coach Dawn Copping. “He has all the qualities to be a very successful national level athlete in the future.”