Gates MacPherson can throw a discus around like it’s nothing. A co-captain for the Girls Varsity Track and Field team, she leads by strength and example. A runner up in two events in the NEPSAC Division II championships last year gave her a lot of confidence and motivation going into this season.
From Thorold, Ontario, Gates started her track career in 4th grade, when the sport was mandatory. She then took on two field events, discus and high jump. She says her success comes from all the hours and hard work she’s put in to the sport.
“Repetition,” is part of what has led to Gates’ success, she told The Willistonian. “It’s a lot of small technical aspects that make the difference,” she said. “I’ve had more experience at it; I’ve been doing it for a long time. I’ve also had good coaches.” Gates also danced for 12 years, which she said helped her athleticism.
Gates’s discus record is 108 feet. The girls high school record is 192 feet. She cleared a 5’2” inch bar in the high jump; the record stands at 6’4,” according to the National Federation for State High School Associations (NFHS).
Gates looks forward to the track season, noting that it is different than the other sports she competes in on campus, volleyball and basketball.
“It’s not really a team sport, it’s more individualized,” she explained. “You are still competing with your friends, it’s just that it’s my favorite sport out of the three that I play.”
Her leadership certainly has its effects on younger members of the team. She, along with co-captains Claire Harrison, Catherine King, and Caroline DiFiore, hopes to have a lot of girls qualifying to the New England Championships this season. She is hoping to see the younger girls love track the same way she did. “I think it [takes] a lot of heart, and if they have constant motivation then hopefully they will be able to go that far,” she said.
Gates notes that her biggest accomplishments were “[making] it to OFSAA [the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations], which is the provincial championships in Canada. It’s kind of a big deal,” she explained. “I made it two years in a row and then I made New England’s during my junior year here [Williston]. Hopefully I return again this year.”
Her competitiveness, Gates said, will hopefully propel her to continue to break her own personal records.
This story originally ran in the Willistonian.