Mateya Haintz threw her personal best in hammer throw. (CONTRIBUTED)

Mateya Haintz threw her personal best in hammer throw. (CONTRIBUTED)

Maple Ridge athlete scores gold at national track and field championships

Mateya Haintz earned personal best and gold in hammer throw.

A Maple Ridge athlete brought home a gold medal from the Canadian under-20 track and field championships in Ottawa.

Mateya Haintz, a Maple Ridge secondary student, threw a personal best of 52.42 metres in women’s hammer throw, earning gold and elevating her to a 9th place ranking in her age group in Canada.

“When I heard it was 52, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe the throw went that far,” said Haintz.

The Canadian championship is the highest level of competition Haintz has competed at.

She wasn’t sure what to expect, but once she arrived, it wasn’t nearly as intimidating as she thought.

Bradley Graham, Haintz’s coach, said Haintz’s dedication to track immense.

“She’s such a hard worker, and every year she continues to improve.”

Haintz has one more year of high school left, and hopes to attend university on a track scholarship. She doesn’t have a particular school in mind yet, but said it will likely be in the U.S.

Haintz and Graham train four days a week to practice technical aspects of hammer throw.

“He’s always been there to push me since I was 12, so we have a good bond with each other because we train so many days a week. He’s there to give me the best criticism,” Haintz said.

She used to do more events in track when she was younger, but once she began training with Graham, she got more interested in throwing hammer.

“The team, the people, everything is great. The actual throwing of it feels amazing,” Haintz said.

Since the school year is over, Haintz competed at the track competition as an unattached athlete. During the school year, Haintz competes for the Maple Ridge secondary track and field team.

To qualify for the Canadian championships, Haintz threw over the standard 47 m needed to a get a spot competing in hammer.