Revelstoke youth athletes Cole Bibby and Matt Arnold have returned from their successful debut at the Canadian Under 18 Track and Field Nationals in Brandon, Man.
Arnold, a hammer thrower, placed sixth in his division, and Bibby, a javelin thrower, scored a bronze medal. Bibby competed as a first year midget and placed first in Canada for his age.
The athlete’s coach, Dylan Armstrong, was very pleased with their performances.
“It was an exciting summer,” Armstrong says.
Armstrong, who competed in the 2008 Olympics and won a bronze medal in shot put, has been retired from competition for four years and is head coach of the Kamloops Track and Field Throw Club.
Armstrong first met Bibby and Arnold at a Kamloops High School meet. Impressed with their athleticism and natural ability, he encouraged the two to come and train with him in the summer. Both boys accepted and spent the summer travelling and training in Kamloops regularly.
“They are both great kids with bright futures ahead of them,” Armstrong says. “I plan on continuing to work with them, they both have supportive parents and come and train as often as possible.”
While competitors train for the track and field season year round, competition runs from April to the end of August.
Arnold and Bibby will continue to excel with the Revelstoke Secondary School team, under coach Jeff Culvin, in addition to heading back to Kamloops starting in late winter.
Both Kim Van den Eerenbeemt and Jeff Arnold, Bibby’s mother and Arnold’s father, are pleased with how the summer progressed.
Bibby, who will be in Grade 9 this year, had just started javelin this past year in high school.
“He just had a natural throwing arm,” Van den Eerenbeemt says. “He made it look easy from the start.”
Like Bibby, Arnold was a natural at hammer.
“He had done track since elementary school,” Jeff Arnold says. “Then in high school he picked up the hammer and was good right away.”
With the prospect of world class training only two and a half hours away in Kamloops, Van den Eerenbeemt and Arnold say both boys are excited to continue their training with Armstrong.
“Having coaching on that level is an incredible opportunity,” Van den Eerenbeemt says. “It can open opportunities if he wants to pursue it.”
Arnold agrees. Currently Matt plans to continue training with Armstrong and compete in both the local and the Kamloops track and field teams.
“He’s made good friends in Kamloops,” Arnold says. “It’s a really great group with a strong coach, it’s very exciting.”
It’s likely that next year Bibby’s older brother Shea will be at nationals. Shea is also training with Armstrong, but was pursuing other passions during nationals.