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Calvin College Graduate Takes Third In Hammer Throw at Canadian Track and Field Championships

Saturday, July 31, 2010

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Canadian Track and Field Championships Site

TORONTO - 2007 Calvin College graduate Megann (VanderVliet) Rhode took third Saturday afternoon at the Canadian Track and Field Championships at the University of Toronto. Rhode took third with a throw of 64.17 meters (210.53 feet). Rhode finished behind Kamloops teammate Sultana Frizell who took first with a throw of 71.89 meters and Crystal Smith who was second with a throw of 64.45 meters.

Rhode is currently training under the tutelage of Dr. Anatoly Bondarchuk with the Kamloops Track and Field Club in Kamloops, British Columbia. Bondarchuk was the gold medalist in the men’s hammer throw at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich and the bronze medalist in the event at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.

Despite his athletic success, Bondarchuk’s legacy is more pronounced in the realm of coaching. Bondarchuk began coaching while still training as an athlete and has since coached athletes to medals in five Olympic Games. Most notably, he coached two-time Olympic Champion and current hammer world record holder Yuri Sedykh. Bondarchuck is currently living and coaching in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. He serves as throwing coach for the Kamloops Track & Field Club, where he guided Canadian shot put record holder Dylan Armstrong to a fourth place finish at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.

Rhode met Bondarchuk during the summer of 2007 when he was presenting a throwing seminar in Grand Rapids. After watching Rhode perform, Bondarchuk invited Rhode to begin training with his club in Kamloops.

A native of Oakville, Ontario, Rhode was a four-time NCAA III All-American at Calvin, doing so three times in the shot put and once in the discus throw. In 2007, she was named the MIAA’s Most Outstanding Field Event Performer in women’s track and field. Prior to attending Calvin, Rhode had never compete in track and field but instead participated in the sports of figure skating, basketball, volleyball, rugby and soccer. While a member of the Calvin women’s soccer team her freshman year, Rhode was recruited to throw on the Calvin women’s track and field in the spring and one year later, took third in the shot put at the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

For an archived story on Rhode’s Calvin throwing career, please visit the Calvin website at: 2007 Calvin Summer Knightfile Magazine

Since beginning her training with Dr. Bondarchuk and the Kamloops Track and Field Club, Rhode has narrowed her focus to the hammer throw and has improved from a throw of 190-11 at the 2008 Canadian Track and Field Championships to throwing well over 200 feet this year. Her career-best throw came earlier this summer with a toss of 65.93 meters (216.31 feet) at the Harry Jerome International Classic in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Rhode has hopes of representing Canada at the 2011 World Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea, and at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. To do so, she will not only need to finish in the top three during Canada’s qualifying competition, but will also need to meet an “A” standard in distance which is expected to be around 70 meters (230 feet).

According to Rhode’s blog, her next goal is to hit 70 meters. Rhode’s blog can be found online at: Rhode Blog

Rhode is married to Mount Union College (OH) graduate Justin Rhode - the 2007 NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field champion in the shot put as well as the 2007 (outdoor) runner-up in the discus. Justin Rhode is also training with the Kamloops Track and Field Club under the tutelage of Dr. Bondarchuck, focusing on the shot put.

The couple met during the 2007 outdoor track and field season and were married this past September.

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