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London Free Press Sports Section:


Javelin champ aims higher

Steve Green, Free Press Sports Reporter   2003-05-09 11:31:30  

Andi Bunko had a terrific year throwing the javelin in 2002 -- four high school golds, a provincial junior club title and a fourth-place finish at the junior nationals.

So where does she go from up? If her early season results are any indication, the answer is "even higher."

With a raked-up baseball infield as the runway and throwing with an unfavourable tailwind, the OAC student at Laurier still won the senior girls' event at the Jana Oldham Memorial field meet yesterday at Banting with a 41.10-metre effort.

"I'd like to think it is," she said when asked if improvement on her personal best of 44.07 metres, set winning the Ontario high school gold last June in Belleville, is possible.

"I'm doing better than I was at this time last year and I'm working a lot on my technique."

The trick is not to leave your best performances in the runup meets, Bunko agreed.

"Sometimes you just want to throw it as hard as you can but you've got to concentrate on your form," she said, adding she's not counting an OFSAA repeat as a given. "I'm scared, actually. There are a lot of good juniors coming up who are throwing over 40.

"But I'm excited about it, too. I'd like to think I'm tough enough to handle the pressure, but it's definitely better for me if I go out in front early. I prefer to be the chased instead of the chaser."

Bunko missed a chance to go one up on her older sister Kara in the meet record books.

Andi (short for Andrean) owns the midget girls' mark of 32.54 metres while Kara, who attended Banting as it was London's only French immersion high school at the time, has the junior mark of 35.26.

"It's definitely been a supportive rivalry," Andi said of any sisterly competition.

"It seems whatever my sister does, I have to do."

And Andi does the javelin well enough to have earned a scholarship to Bowling Green (Ohio) State University. Her PB also is the Ontario Track and Field Association under-19 mark.

"That's going to be weird being away from home," she said. "I've got no idea what that's going to be like."

While Bunko didn't set a record yesterday, three others did on a near-perfect day.

The weather, however, had no bearing on Mitch Vermue's win in the open boys' high jump, as it was held in the gym.

Competing on a wood floor that's not ideal for the high jump, the South basketball and volleyball star still cleared an impressive 2.00 metres.

That could translate to 2.05 or slightly better outdoors under ideal conditions. With the TVRAA Central championships on the Mondo surface of TD Waterhouse Stadium, it's well within his reach.

"If I get perfect conditions and I'm feeling it, I'll clear 2.05," said Vermue, who just missed making 2.04 on his first attempt. "I'm just trying to stay consistent on every jump; I want to clear 1.85 the same way as 2.00, because that's where the height comes from."

Vermue and Beal's Noah John, who faulted out at 1.95, both cleared 1.90 to break the meet mark of 1.89 set in 1994 by Chris Kirkland of Beal.

Vermue was quick to credit John with part of his success.

"I owe half of my victory to him," he said. "He helps break down my runup for me and tells me where I should be. We depend on each other."

Vermue won the TVRAA Central senior title last year, was second at WOSSAA "and choked at regionals," but is eying better things. "An OFSAA medal is where I want to be a month from now."

Other record-setters yesterday were Anita Schipper of London Christian in junior girls' triple jump (10.36m) and Taylor Carloss of Banting in senior boys' triple jump (11.88m). Banting easily retained the team title with 164 points. London Christian was second with 115.

Copyright © The London Free Press 2001,2002,2003

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