LANGLEY, BC – A small Canadian flag fluttered in the wind, precisely 20.33 metres from the shot put circle at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley, BC.
It was Mitton’s mark, and after Saturday, it still stands — despite a hopeful effort.
On a sweltering June day in 2022, the Brooklyn, Nova Scotia native smashed the Canadian record in the event, spinning powerfully before shouting as her shot hit the gravel in record position.
A year later, in the same circle, she won again, as a plot of cement in Langley continued to vault her career into new eras, now sending her to the Budapest 2023 World Athletics Championships.
Of the Windsor Lancer alumnus’ 18 throws in 2023, her two best have been in Langley, having won the Harry Jerome Track and Field Classic with a throw of 19.83. She made her second longest of the season on Saturday with a 19.69, despite faulting twice.
While not a Canadian record, it was good enough for the day’s best shot, giving her back-to-back Canadian Championships in the event.
“It’s pretty cool; it’s been a lot of work to be a back-to-back national champion for me,” she told 49 Sports. “I remember growing up and watching some of the other throwers; year after year, they were just so consistently winning, and that’s what I wanted to be, and now I can embrace that and do that myself now.”
Mitton’s fourth throw of the evening secured her top distance, coming off the back of two faults, where she regained her composure and captured the title.
While Athletics Canada organizers initially switched the location of the shot put, Mitton, alongside her coach Richard Parkinson, asked for the event to be relocated back to the circle where she’s had so much success, and it worked.
It’s been a remarkable season for Mitton after her trajectory began rising in 2022, as she continues to push Canadian records, breaking her indoor record in January in Windsor with a throw of 19.80.
While her best throws have come in recent weeks, the peak isn’t quite there for the fourth-place finisher from last year’s World Championships in Oregon. Still, she pushed in her final Langley event for the foreseeable future.
“I’ve not fully peaked, but we did try to push just a little bit because I threw really well here last year,” Mitton said, eyeing one more meet ahead of Budapest’s World Championships in August.
“I was trying to go over 20 again, maybe trying a little too hard, but when the time comes, my body will be super fresh, and just looking forward to seeing what extra we can put on the ball.”
Mitton’s next major moment won’t come until Aug. 26, when she takes on the World Championship event in Hungary.
Appiah takes bronze in return to shot put
While Mitton stood upon the top of the podium in Langley, longtime friend Cynthia Appiah joined her in the bronze medal position.
For Appiah, who put up a top throw of 14.84, Saturday marked a National Championship return to shotput after having solely focused on her bobsled career for several years — one which earned her an Olympic top-10 at Beijing 2022.
The podium in Langley, however, started in winter, at a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game in January.
“We were at a Maple Leafs game early in the season, and [Apphiah] mentioned that she wanted to come back out and throw,” Mitton said.
From there, Appiah, a former York Lions track athlete, rejoined Mitton’s club, Team SISU, and head coach Parkinson and strived to become one of Canada’s summer-winter multisport athletes, joining the likes of hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser who won medals in softball and ice hockey.
“It’s super exciting, I’m having a lot of fun, and the whole goal of the comeback was to try and enjoy it again,” Appiah said. “To come away with my first nationals medal is pretty sweet and is the cherry on top of the whole season.”
“When I first restarted, I was a little full of myself. I quickly learned how hard it was to get back into it and lost much of that technique. It took a little bit of stepping back to take a few steps forward.”
While Appiah is unlikely to head to the World Championships, Mitton will shift her focus to one extra preparation meet before heading overseas, where she hopes her newfound consistency and the lessons learned from 2022’s World Championship fourth will result in a medal in Budapest.