Frizell's record gets tossed
By Claude Scilley
Monday, April 28
Local Sports - For want of a set of scales, a record was lost.
In the early twilight Saturday at Richardson Stadium, Sultana Frizell put the shot farther than any female high school athlete in Canada has ever done, 14.84 metres.
While she left no doubt – the Perth athlete surpassed her own record distance, set last June at the provincial high school championship, by almost 50 centimetres – the mark will not stand as a national record, because the shot she used to achieve it couldn't be certified.
Was Frizell upset?
"No," she said. "I'll just do it again."
Don't bet against it.
The women's shot put record had stood at the Queen's Track Alumni meet since Judy Gitzi of Ottawa Ridgemont set it at 13.78 metres 16 years ago. Saturday, Frizell surpassed that distance with each of her six attempts. Her best was almost four metres better than anyone else in the field.
"She knows what it takes and she's been working hard," said Queen's University varsity track coach Melody Torcolacci, a six-time national women's shot put champion who, oddly enough, now shares a distinction with Frizell.
During her competitive days Torcolacci was denied a Canadian senior record because it was done at a meet without a scale to weigh the shot.
"It had been weighed the week before," Torcolacci recalled Saturday. "It was almost too heavy."
A small gallery that gathered around the shot put area in anticipation of a momentous event Saturday let out a collective whoop when Frizell's final attempt landed well beyond the most distant arc that had been drawn on the sector. Breaths were collectively held as the distance was measured, and measured again. There was applause when the distance was announced.
There were sighs all round, however, when it was announced that the performance would not be an official Canadian interscholastic record.
Along with having a certified official overseeing the competition, the throwing sector must be carefully marked for a record to be sanctioned. As well, the implement must have been weighed to confirm it is of proper weight. Usually, this is done before a competition.
It isn't usually done at the Alumni meet, however, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is it's unusual for athletes to be at the record-breaking level at the first meet of the spring.
Torcolacci on Saturday suggested the possibility of impounding the shot, and having it weighed later, but the one Frizell used for her "Canadian best" attempt belonged to another competitor, and she couldn't leave it behind.
Having to compete in Saturday's dreary, cold conditions didn't deter Frizell, who actually threw the day before at a meet in Carleton Place, where she put the shot 15.26 metres. That one didn't count, either, because the sector sloped away from the throwing circle.
"It was pretty chilly," Frizell said of Saturday's conditions. "That was a major factor, plus I just came off a meet yesterday, so I was pretty tired.
"I'm just glad that I did something today."
With a little A-535 ointment to put on her shoulder to keep it warm, Frizell said she didn't change a thing Saturday, either to cope with the cold or the strain of competing two days in a row.
"You just deal with it," she said.
Eager to enrol at University of Georgia in the fall – "It will be a little bit warmer," she said, excitedly – Frizell is also looking forward to the Pan Am junior championships in Barbados this summer, and the national and national junior championships.
Torcolacci sees a bright future for the young thrower.
"She competes quite well," Torcolacci said. "She goes about her business. She knows what she wants to accomplish.
"I've never seen her not compete well in a pressure situation. She always comes up big at OFSAA. She always comes up big at national juniors. I've never seen her perform badly in a pressure situation, which is what you want in a competitor."
Torcolacci believes Frizell has potential to get much better.
"She should minimally be over 16 [metres] at some stage, if not significantly further," she said, "but I hate putting limits on people. She certainly can end up being one of the best all-round throws athletes Canada has ever produced.
"Her problem is she's so good at so many things, what does she focus on? She's got a passion for hammer and that's what she's been centred on. From what I've seen I think she can challenge the Canadian record down the road. She can certainly [do that] if she wanted to challenge the Canadian record in women's shot put. Discus has always been an event that she's done but I don't think she's really focused on it. Could she throw a lot further? Yeah, she could break 50 [metres] at some stage, maybe approach 60 if things go well."
Frizell possesses the necessary tools to be a success, but Torcolacci said circumstance will also help to determine to what degree she fulfills her potential.
"She's got good twitch, she's got good awareness and she knows how to compete," Torcolacci said, emphasizing the need for her now to be put in the right coaching environment, in the right situation, with other women to push her.
"That's been part of her problem. She hasn't had other women to push her so it's all had to be self-motivated.
"It's much easier to go out and work hard and compete when there's [the thought] ‘If I don't do it, they're going to kick my butt' kind of thing. It's tough going out and trying to throw real far when you know you're so far ahead of the rest of the competition.
"Chasing numbers is not fun. She's doing a great job of being able to focus on what she needs to do to throw well."
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