The Withers are Sarnia’s first family of javelin

A family that throws together grows together.

That could be the adage of the Withers clan from Bright’s Grove.

Dr. Marty Withers, an Ontario Junior Javelin Champion in 1979, has coached and trained with all four of his children in the sport.

Tyler, Benjamin and Jennifer have all tasted success in the discipline, but it is 18-year-old Matt who now holds the family bragging rights.

Last month at Mississauga, the Northern Collegiate grad became the first member of his family to win a gold medal at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) level.

He won the provincial high school title with a throw of 54.85 metres in senior boys javelin, just slightly below his personal best registered earlier in the season at the OFSAA West Regional meet in Windsor.

To make the victory even sweeter, he was presented the top prize by his father, who won bronze in high school javelin in 1977.

“He’s been my coach and we’ve trained together for a long time, so it was pretty cool,” Matt Withers said.

His father agreed.

“It was a special moment,” Marty Withers added.

The youngest of the Withers family will study Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa in September, but won’t be quite as active throwing in the months ahead.

He’ll focus on academics and concentrate on weight and strength training, with an eye to longer throws by next spring.

One of his long-term goals is to compete on the international stage.

As for his father, Marty Withers recently won his age group at the Ontario Masters Athletics Championships in Toronto with a throw of 48.14 metres, and will compete at the Canadian Masters Championships, also in Toronto, on July 13.

If he feels his performance is what it should be, he will consider competing at the World Masters Championships in France in 2015.

“That’s on my bucket list,” Withers said.

– Barry Wright