Conquering the games one hurdle at a time

Fourteen-year-old Justin Grosso is one of four talented local athletes chosen to attend the BC Summer Games in Nanaimo.

BC Summer Games competitor Justin Grosso demonstrates his need for speed leading up to the Nanaimo event.

Fourteen-year-old Justin Grosso is one of four talented local athletes chosen to attend the BC  Summer Games in Nanaimo from Thursday, July 17th to Sunday, July 20th. The Invermere teen and David Thompson Secondary School student originally favoured the 100- and 200-metre dash, but fell into hurdles after an outstanding performance at a track meet.

“At first I was only registered in the 100- and 200-metre dash, and then I went to a different track meet and the hurdles event I did was really, really good,” commented Justin. The confident, determined young man spoke proudly of his journey to the BC Summer Games.

“My best time for the 100-metre hurdles is 17.1 seconds. It was really weird; it was my first 100-metre hurdle event; I had only practised twice and I got an extremely good time.”

Justin admitted having to convince his coach Heather Brown at DTSS to allow him to enter the event.

“I was begging her to try the hurdles. There was a track meet the following week and she wanted me to focus on the 100-metre dash, but I kept on her. That was the only reason she agreed and she was very, very happy in the end that she did,” he said.

The dedicated track star has been drinking two protein shakes a day in preparation for the upcoming competition and revealed some unique training rituals.

“When I train, I listen to a lot of heavy metal music, especially Avenged Sevenfold. Some mornings I will run five kilometres; other mornings I’ll do an ab workout.”

Diversification and creating an edge seem to work for the persistent young man.

“When I think about all the other guys registered in the 100-metres, they probably don’t have their own set of hurdles.”

The industrious athlete convinced Ms. Brown to lend him a set of hurdles from the DTSS athletic department at the end of the semester.

“I wanted to sign them out, but it was the last day of classes so Ms. Brown just let me take them.”

The natural athlete took to hurdles with very little training or professional advice and quickly landed a spot in the youngest qualifying category of the B.C. Summer Games. Generous of heart, Justin was also originally slated for the 100-metre dash but, since as athletes are limited to three events, he opted out so his friend Billy Bowen could compete in his place.

The excited hurdler marvelled at the immensity of the upcoming competition, and spoke determinedly of his intention to win.

“I think there’s a good chance I could win it. Just because you come from a small town, doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything big.”