IHGF Professional Highland Games World Championships
Things have been very exciting in my world lately. Work is going well with new job. My wife and I are planning to build a new house starting in January. This past weekend I was able to win the Professional Highland Games World Championships. Those of you that follow the site know that a lot of thought and effort has gone in toward chasing this goal. I am just as excited about the honor of being World Champion as I am at know that ll of my programming got me into the best position as I could be, to do my best.
I met Mike Pockoski in Buffalo NY on Friday and we Drove the 2 and a half hours to Fegus, Ontario for the competition. Lots of talk in the car about how the weather was looking like we were going to be soaked on Saturday for the contest. We both dominated some hotdogs on the way up and shot the shit as we usually do.
The games put u sup in a dorm at a local college right int he middle of all the restaurants in the area. The whole group headed to eat at a Mongolian buffet and dominated it. Our waiter was possibly the most energetic person ever. If he is not on cocaine they need to take blood samples from him and make some new energy products. He sang us some songs he wrote about working at the Grill. Including a Rap, a Leadbelly style jam, and one with tons of call outs for the crowd at the eatery.
With all that excitement out of the way we made our way to FROYO for Mike. If he goes more than 20 minutes with out eating gummy worms or some type of sweets he gets all bitchy and emotional.
We woke up to pouring rain and a quick trip to McDonalds for breakfast. Got the usual comp day breakfast burritos and a soft drink. Studies show it makes you awesome and not shit your pants. Thanks predictable McDonalds. The game field was still pretty damp when we arrived from all of the rain for the last couple days. The Scot in attendance Craig Sinclair said it was a “fokin bog” but he is used to it. So I made the decision to go with the soccer cleats for the day. The ground was to wet or HJ spike as they would just slip.
Standard stretching routine and systems check. Everything felt really good, my ankle is holding up well and everything seems to be as good as it can on my end. The weather is the only unknown x-factor but we all have to deal with it equally. Luckily we stayed dry all day. With the forecast of 80% all day the only rain was during our lunch break.
Game Plan- The way to win big games is to be consistent all day. You cant bomb out of an event. You also have to make up the points where you can. I know for me the stones were going to be a big deciding factor of the results. The two Polish throwers Sebastian Wenta (2nd at WSM 2007) and his brother Lukas who is also a monster and throws the shit out of stones. Recently went 62′ in scotland. Having these two there makes it interesting for me. If I can beat them in stones I will get a big jump in points. The other events I just have to stay in top 3.
Breamar: The stone in Fergus is a big 24# triangle shape with hard edges. Sebastian and Lukas crushed this thing going 42′ and 41′ respectively. I managed 3rd with 40′
22 Hammer: This event has been a tough one for me this year. I knew I needed to throw 110′ to be where I wanted to be. I managed a season avg of 107′ and it put me 5th behind Mike, Dan, Craig Sinclair, and Sean. Thsi hurt a bit.
16 Hammer: As first thrower I got the advantage of a fresh trig every throw. I need to take advantage of things like that when they present themselves. 137′ PR, felt really good as did the other two throws. Mike wins again and Dan second. Both huge throws of 142+. This 3rd keeps me where I need to be points wise.
HWFD: Heavy Weight has been a good event for me this year. I have only been beat once in it. Early season by Andy. First throw was 44′ put me in 1st. Mike hit a big throw out past 45′ my second throw felt good but missed the release hitting 43′. Last throw felt good but just did not go anywhere. 2nd here is not what I was hoping since this has been a good event for me.
LUNCH: sloppy joes and home made pies.. it was awesome. Mike was winning with 11 points me and Dan two points back at 13. (I kept them low score all day)
Open Stone: This was a big 18# stone but a good shape and easy to tuck. I know the Wenta brothers have been throwing far all season in Scotland. A little bit of trash talk about the stones coming into the games made me really want this one. Of all the events this is the one I take the most pride in feeling I am the best in the world at. Both Wentas managed big glides out to 43′ and 44′ I was sitting at 43′ going into the 3rd round. I am in the right position I needed to be in for a big throw. As second to last thrower it is all in my hands. For my last one I finally put it together and had my best stone throw ever and hit 57’2″. This is by far a PR with a big stone. This moved me into 1st and gave some much needed points over Mike and Dan who finished 5th and 4th respectively. This gave me a lead but I know caber was coming up and not a strong suit for me.
LWFD: For whatever reason this event has come together for me this year. I feel probably the most confident in this one. 1st throw was 87′ and 5′ out in front. The whole series was solid everything over 86′. Mike grabbed clutch second here and Sebastian took third with Dan right behind at 4th.
Caber: This is my weakest and most in consistent event. I know going in I need to just hang in there. However with guys like the Wentas and Dan it is going to be tough. Hadley has turned sticks and Ryan Vierra has probably turned more sticks in his time than anyone. Turned out to be a shootout stick. I hit Fifer, 11:30, and 11:15. This got me 7th. OUCH!!!
WOB: Final event. Points going in here are Mike Pockoski winning, Me one point behind, and Sebastian one point back from me. Dan is a couple behind Sebastian. I know in this event that like the year be3fore it is going to come down to not only who hits best number but most likely misses. I managed to go clean from 14 to 16’6″ with only Lukas and myself clearing 16’6″. Mike had a miss at 15 and 16 no clear at 16’6″. Dan missed 15 and 16. and Sean clearing up to 16 with only one miss. Sebastian went out uncharacteristically early at 15′ So it ended the way it should, on throws. I would have really hated to see a
World Championship come down to count backs. Thanks to Warren for going to 16’6″ to make that happen. Leave it in the athletes hands. So I got second, Mike took 5th, and Dan took 3rd
Overall it was a fantastic Competition. It was everything I had hoped for going in. I am really happy that my training plan going back to October of last year all came together for me to peak at the right time. 2 PRs at the World Championships and a win I can’t want anything more than that.
Pleasanton, CA for Team championships – Sept 1st
Estes Park, CO – Sept 8th
Loon Mtn, NH Sept 22-23
Bethlehem, PA for Celtic Classic national Championships – Sept 28-30th