Nathaniel Mechler is officially the top junior decathlete – and arguably the top all-around athlete – in Canada.Competing in his first decathlon last weekend in Ottawa, the 18-year-old Elmira District Secondary School student out ran, jumped and threw the nation’s best to win the Canadian National Junior Decathlon Championship.
With the victory, Mechler earned more than bragging rights and a gold medal for his trophy case, he also earned a spot on the Canadian track and field team for the junior Pan Am Games in Edmonton later this summer.
“It’s really exciting and really a big honour,” Mechler said of the chance to represent Canada for the first time.
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He was happy with the way things went in Ottawa, despite the fact that soreness played a big factor on the second day of the competition.
“It was a long weekend,” he said. “I was sitting second after day one, but that’s what I was expecting, since I usually have a better day two. That’s because most Canadian decathletes aren’t very good at the events that take place on day two, where as there are some good events for me there, so that’s usually where I can make up a lot of points on the other competitors.”
Traditionally the contest for the “world’s best athlete,” the decathlon includes: 100-metre, 400-metre, 1,500-metre, 110-metre hurdles, long jump, high jump, pole vault, javelin, shot put, and discus.
A strong runner, Mechler had the best times in the 400-metre dash (48.48 seconds) and the 100-metre hurdles (14.50 seconds) and was the second fastest in the 1,500-metre race (4:51.77).
He also had the best pole vault of 4.50 metres and set a personal best in the javelin, with a throw of 40.59 metres.
His other results were: 100-metres time of 11.77 seconds; long jump of 6.49 metres; shot put of 12.87 metres; high jump of 1.82 metres; and a discus throw of 34.06 metres.
Now, Mechler will take a couple weeks off before ramping up training once again for the Pan Ams, which will take place July 31 to August 2 in Edmonton, Alberta.
The competition there will be stiff, and he’ll need to step up his game, since some of the world’s best decathletes –particularly the American and Cuban teams – will be on hand for the event.
Mechler wrapped up a successful high school track and field season earlier this month at the Ontario Federation of Secondary School Athletic Associations meet in Toronto.
There, the Alma resident won a bronze medal in the 100-metre hurdles and finished fourth and fifth in the pole vault and 400-metre dash respectively.
Mechler also competed in the pentathlon at the New Balance Indoor track and field meet in New York City back in March, winning silver.
To keep up with Mechler’s progress, check out www.nathanielmechler.com.