MAIN PHOTO: Best friends Braden Marshall, Abbi Gaudry, and Jill Langille will all be competing in track and field at the 2022 Canada Games in Niagara, Ont. (Healey photo)

WINDSOR JUNCTION: Three best friends from the Windsor Junction area are going to get to live out an experience of a lifetime later this month when they head to Niagara Falls, Ont., to represent Nova Scotia at the 2022 Canada Games.

Braden Marshall of Fall River, and Abbi Gaudry and Jill Langille of Windsor Junction are three of the province’s track and field athletes set to compete against the best from across Canada—all under-25 this time around.

Due to the pandemic, this years age groupings are under-25 in track and field so that means the three are in even stiffer competition then they may be in regular Canada Games.

Marshall will compete in the 110 metre hurdles. He was at the previous games—as a spectator cheering on his sister, Ashleigh in basketball.

“I’m honoured to be on the team to represent N.S., at the Canada Games,” he said. “It’s pretty special to be there this time competing.”

He said he was at St. Mary’s University during the year training with them.

It was Gaudry who told him he made the team—after the 20-some odd text.

“Abbi told me through some 20-plus frantic texts, which I thought meant someone was dying,” he said with a bit of a chuckle. “It was pretty special, especially to go with many of my friends.”

Gaudry is excited since this will be the first big competition since Covid-19, so it will be different.

“We haven’t seen what anyone has been able to do in two or three years,” said Gaudry. “This year the Games are U-25 for track and field so we’re very young to be making it.

“It’s exciting that all three of us made it because of the age change for this year. It’s a big deal. I think it’ll be a good experience.”

She said her track injuries (back) are improving and she made the Games team for the heptathlon (seven events over a two-day period). That was the Dal Tigers goal.

“We’ll see how it goes,” she said. “It’ll be more so for the experience this year, just to get competing at the high level again.”

Langille was at the Canada Games in 2019 in Gymnastics, so she can pass on that experience to Gaudry and Marshall, although she said it’s more like them keeping her calm and not nervous.

“Just that experience and getting to go again it’s definitely one of my favourite experiences,” said Langille. “It’s such a cool opportunity.

“Everything about Canada Games I love, so I’m really excited I get to experience it again.”

She will be competing in the 100 metre; 200 metre; and 4 x 100 metre relay.

Langille is going there to have fun.

“I’m just going to try and hit some PBs (personal bests) and maybe get close to where I want to be,” she said. ‘I just want to go there and have fun.”

Langille feels being younger at 19, going against those up to 25-years-old will push the three in ways they haven’t been before, which could be a good thing—or a bad thing as Gaudry noted with a chuckle.

Gaudry said going with Langille and Marshall is special.

“It’s so fun to go on your own, but when you get to go with your besties from the track it makes it that much more special,” said Gaudry. “You know they are going to be there cheering you on in their sea of blue and lifting you up when needed.”

The three of them had one last message.

“Go Team N.S. Go,” they said in concluding the interview with the Laker News at Gaudry’s family home.