Saanich’s Willett throws for gold at Canada Summer Games

Sam Willett wins hammer, Saanich divers medal at Canada Summer Games

Nineteen-year-old Sam Willett of Saanich won gold in the men’s hammer throw 54.50-metre on Tuesday night.

It’s Saanich’s first gold medal, and fifth at the games as Hannah Henry took silver in the triathlon, while Boardworks divers Bryden Hattie,15, (Claremont secondary) won silver in the men’s 1m springboard and Coral Strugnell, 18, won bronze in the women’s 3m springboard. Hattie and Ryan Grover (Saanich) won silver in the men’s 3-metre synchro on Monday.

Willett hit his medal-winning mark on his second throw. Knowing he was in the lead, he tried for even more, subsequently stepped out of the circle on his third, fourth, fifth, and sixth throws.

“I was confident [with the 54.5m throw that] I’d be in the top three and I wanted to go after it, so I did,” Willett said. “There was a couple of people who could have thrown 54 as well, and there’s always a chance someone will throw a personal best so I tried.”

It’s the second medal for Willett in a matter of weeks as he won silver at the provincial championships with a throw of 56.84m in Coquitlam two weeks ago. Saanich native Adam Keenan won gold at the provincials with a throw of 67m.

That was the first time Willett competed against Keenan since the former has now moved up to the international hammer standard of 7.26 kilograms. The two trained together at Lambrick Park prior to the provincial championships though Keenan is now based in Kamloops while Willett is here studying at the University of Victoria and training at Lambrick year round.

Incidently, Keenan holds the Canada Summer Games hammer record from 2013 when he threw it 65m.

Another Saanich thrower, Max Szczawinski, 19, is fourth in qualifying and will compete for a medal in the men’s discus final on Thursday, the same day Willett will receive his in a ceremony.

Hattie scored four 9.0s on his reverse 1.5 somersault pike to contribute to his overall score of 361.85 points to earn the silver, less than a point behind the gold medallist from Team Ontario. Ryan Grover of Saanich was fourth with 339 points.

“It was pretty clutch,” said Hattie on earning a nine for his final dive.

Strugnell completed her dives with a score of 299.10, just 10.05 points behind the gold medallist from Ontario and four points behind the silver medallist from Alberta.

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