Sault Stryders
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Wind denies Koskenoja bid for new javelin record
Reported May 30, 2003 by Peter Ruicci for The Sault Star
Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Tyler Koskenoja gives it his all with winning javelin toss in Senior Boys competition

Strong winds and javelin throwing don't always go together.

Tyler Koskenoja found that out on Day 1 of the two-day, Northern Ontario Secondary Schools Association (NOSSA) Track and Field Championships at Jo Forman Track.

The owner of the city junior (59.40 metres) and senior (62.30) javelin records, the 18-year-old OAC student at White Pines Collegiate thought the cross-wind he faced, "probably" kept him from establishing a new NOSSA standard Thursday.

His toss of 59.72 metres, while enough to secure the Senior Boys' gold medal, fell short of the NOSSA mark of 61.69 metres.

"That throw (59.72) probably would have carried for the record on a calm day," said Koskenoja, a five-time city, three-time NOSSA and two-time Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) javelin champion.

"The wind was a little tricky and it was the most distracting on the run-up. It was forcing it (the javelin) down. I wasn't getting any lift."

Meantime, Hannibal Cull of Sir James Dunn (3,000m) and Chris Siegman of St. Basil (400m hurdles) also won Senior Boys' golds Thursday. SJD's Dan Kennedy (discus) struck gold in junior.

Despite not setting another record, the six-foot-two, 185-pound Koskenoja said he wasn't as frustrated Thursday as he was at last year's NOSSA event in North Bay. There, under a steady rain and without a proper runway, all he could manage was a toss of 54 metres.

"At least I won (Thursday), but the record was really all I was thinking about," said Koskenoja, who came in as the odds-on favourite to win the event. "Now I'm looking to win OFSAA with a throw of over 60 (metres). I think I'll probably go in ranked No. 1 and now I know it'll be a tough competition."

As expected, Cull, the defending NOSSA 3,000m champion, turned in an impressive performance, finishing in 9:33.0.

He and teammate Brent Gerhart, who placed second in 9:35.9, helped pace each other through the grueling event.

The pair ran together throughout the race, finally separating from Jon Pratt of North Bay's West Ferris, with 350 metres remaining.

"I didn't want to be in the lead in the wind," said Cull, who won last week's city 3,000m race. "But, with about a lap left, I got into the lead. I don't have a very good sprinter's kick, so I figured if I could lead with a lap left, I'd have my best chance."

"Hannibal and I talked about having to draft (run behind) somebody," added Gerhart, second behind Cull in the city finals. "We were hoping somebody would go out in front of us."

Once they separated from the others, Gerhart just wanted to maintain second place.

"I can settle for second," he continued. "Hannibal is that good, and he opened up enough of a gap so there was a very slim chance of me catching him."