Melissa Fraser knew what was at stake.
Less than a week earlier, Fraser had been knocked out of the top two Canadian rankings among female javelin athletes.
Another competitor had beat Fraser’s old mark by 40 cm at the Harry Jerome Classic in Burnaby on June 8.
It was June 14, and Fraser was in Coquitlam for a meet along with other members of the Langley Mustangs Track and Field Club.
At stake was a spot on Canada’s athletics team for the upcoming Pan American Games in Toronto as it was the final day for athletes to cement their spots in the national rankings.
Only the top two athletes in each respective sport would earn a spot on the Canadian roster and now Fraser was down to her final throw of the meet.
“I knew this was my last chance, my last meet and I had to throw big or I wasn’t going to qualify,” recalled the 24-year-old.
She stepped up and delivered, heaving the javelin 54.87m, a new personal best, and a mark good enough to solidify her spot on Team Canada.
“That was the major goal for this season,” said Fraser.
“This is my first senior national team. It is a big stepping stone for me in terms of next season and wanting to qualify for the Olympics.”
Fraser said she has been working on her mental strength over the past couple of years.
“I have definitely matured over the years,” she said.
“Early on, I would succumb to the pressure, but I have been working on a lot of mental training and knowing my capabilities and not really thinking about other people.
“I found that has really helped with my performances.”
Fraser moved to Langley in November to train with the Mustangs under coach Tom Nielsen. She is also dating Nielsen’s son, Kyle, who also competes in javelin.
Prior to that, she had been training for the past two years in Lethbridge, but felt as if she had regressed during her time there. Her scores also went down during that time.
“I just needed a different environment to be in and I knew he (Tom) would be a good fit for me.”
Before that, Fraser had spent four years at DePaul University in Chicago on scholarship.
She is originally from Hillsburgh, Ontario, and was a softball player and was recruited into track and field to compete in a couple of throwing events, the javelin and hammer throw.
The Pan Am Games run July 10 to 26 and the athletics portion of the competition will be held about an hour from Fraser’s hometown so she is expecting a good cheering section.
She plans on spending some time with family after the competition before returning to Langley and preparing to try and land a spot on the Canadian senior national team for the 2016 Olympic Games.