Even though he is a jumper, Diego Marshall has been logging a lot of mileage in training for his first Royal Canadian Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships.
The Chapel Island teenager has been travelling – twice per week – from his home to Antigonish, an approximately three-hour round trip, to train with the Antigonish Track Club (ATC).
“I have no idea,” the 15-year-old said, while smiling and shaking his head, when asked what makes him a strong jumper.
He is heading to nationals on a high note, after soaring to gold medals – in both the high and long jump – at the Atlantic Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Charlottetown in July.
At that high-level meet, Marshall established a personal best in the high jump – his favourite discipline.
“It is the closest one to where I live,” he said, matter-of-factly, of making the travel commitment, a couple months ago, to be part of the Antigonish-based group.
Although he has participated in school track and field competition, mainly in elementary school, it is the first time the athlete has been a member of a club.
“He’s got so much natural ability,” Dave Walker, his ATC coach said.
He noted Marshall is “self-taught.”
“Which tells me that he really wants to do it; he is driving himself, which is important,” Walker added.
He described Marshall’s ability as “pretty special,” noting he is only starting high school.
“Diego has huge potential,” Walker added.
As for his goals at nationals, the soon-to-be Grade 10 student at Richmond Academy in Louisdale said “to bring back a medal.”
It hasn’t been decided if Marshall, who will compete in the high, will also participate in the long jump.
Marshall will be joined by three other ATC athletes for nationals – runners Siona Chisholm, Mairinn Canning and Malia Artibello.
The three-day national championship meet – commonly known as ‘The Legions’ – will take place from Aug. 10 to 12 in Brandon, Manitoba.