Carson a quick study
Thorold Elite track and field coach Steve Fife knew Carson Gauthier could be something special the moment he set eyes on him this June.
The Grade 8 student at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Chippawa was competing in shot put and long jump at a Niagara Catholic Athletic Association elementary school regional track and field meet.
“I saw him and I went up to him and his mom and introduced myself and basically said, ‘If you try discus and javelin you would be a provincial champion by the end of this summer,’ ” Fife said.
The 5-foot-11, 150-pound athlete didn’t know what to think.
“I didn’t think I would be able to do that.”
He was even more surprised about the events Fife talked about.
“I thought he was going to ask me about long jump and I didn’t know he was going to ask me about discus and all of the others.”
Fife invited Carson to come out to one practice and Carson reaffirmed his like of shot put, discus and long jump. Javelin was another story.
“The first practice I did not like javelin at all. It was my least favourite thing but after a few practices I got a bit better at it. I won a few meets and now it is my favourite,” he said.
His dislike of javelin was because of its degree of difficulty.
“The complexities of it were really tough to learn.”
Gauthier proved to be a quick study and his results bore that out.
He was the Ontario Minor Track Association provincial champion in javelin and discus and at the Athletics Ontario provincial championships, he captured gold medals in the under-14 boys javelin, discus, shot put, long jump and was 4×100-metre relay team. In the process, he set a provincial record in the javelin with a throw of 49.53 metres. He broke the old record by an amazing 7.3 metres.
Carson was surprised with his results, especially at the Athletics Ontario meet.
“I didn’t expect that at all,” he said. “I didn’t expect all five.”
For his part, Fufe was anything but surprised at the results posted by his young thrower.
“Physically, he has what you would look for which is some height and long arms, but aside from some natural talent, he made every single practice and has really tried to understand the throws and the techniques in order to master them,” he said. “He has done everything that we asked him to do at practice and even took the initiative to bring a javelin or a discus home to practice with throughout the week.”
Carson has started to work on the high jump and is looking at trying a multi-discipline event.
Fife feels Carson has tons of potential.
“To have accomplished so much within only six weeks of training, the sky is really the limit,” he said. “I foresee a lot of continued success and definitely more provincial titles in the future. I’m really excited to see where it leads.”
As for goals, Carson is looking forward to entering Saint Michael in the fall of 2020 and chasing track and field medals at the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association and Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations levels.
He also plays Niagara Rapids travel volleyball and agrees it is difficult to balance the two sports.
“It’s tough because you use one foot to jump in volleyball and two feet in track,” he said. “It’s hard to change back and forth between practices.”
BPSN’s coverage of the track and field season is made possible with the support of the Niagara Olympic Club (https://nocrunners.com).