Muskie shot put thrower Garnet Paxson kidded that he joined the track-and-field team just to get out of one day of school.
However, he did so well that he earned his way out of a couple more.
The rookie’s throw of more than 12 metres at the NWOSSAA championships in Thunder Bay last month was good enough to advance him to the all-Ontarios, which run tomorrow through Saturday (June 3-5) in London.
“I just went on it [the team] to miss a day of school to go to Thunder Bay,” admitted Paxson.
He also credited fellow athlete Josh Strain with encouraging him to come out and try the sport.
Strain will accompany Paxson to OFSAA, competing in the high jump and triple jump, and he was happy to have a training partner this time around.
Strain has qualified for the all-Ontarios each of the last four years, but was the only Muskie athlete to do so in the first three.
Paxson also was thrilled to have someone alongside him as he makes his OFSAA debut.
“It’s good training with him [Strain]. He’s always pushing me to do better,” said Paxson.
“I’m always cheering him on, seeing how far he can jump.
“It’s always good to have someone like Josh on the team to help get you motivated,” he reasoned
At the NWOSSAA meet, Paxson went through some early struggles as his first throw wasn’t counted. But he mustered up enough strength for his second attempt and put up the winning toss.
“My first throw I scratched, so I was a little bit nervous,” he recalled.
“But I threw the second throw, and I guess it was enough to win the whole thing.”
The result was a bit of a surprise for Paxson, who had been training with a four-kg shot put up until two weeks before NWOSSAA.
At that point, he discovered his division uses a 5.443-kg apparatus, and so he only had a few days to get ready with the proper-sized shot put.
“I was throwing good with the smaller one, and I thought that’s what you’d use,” said Paxson.
“[Then] I found out that the one I’d have to use in NWOSSAA was two pounds heavier, so we ended up ordering another one,” he noted.
“It was harder with that one, but eventually I got used to it and I got used to it enough to win. . . .
“I didn’t have much time to train with it.”
Paxson has been keeping with the same training program that got him to this point—simply trying to tweak his toss through countless repetitions.
“Just the same as I trained for NWOSSAA. There’s really not that much I could do, just keep throwing as much as I can,” he explained.
“There’s no real coach, so I just kind of coach myself and [go by] what I see on the Internet.
“I’m just trying to perfect my form,” he remarked.
Paxson admitted he’s tempered his expectations heading into the all-Ontarios, but still is taking a hopeful attitude into competition.
“I’m not expecting much just because those guys have been doing it for a few years and I’ve been doing it for a couple months,” he said.
“I guess I’ll just do the best I can and just see what happens,” he reasoned.