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Throw big or go home

In Joe Eppele's case, using size to your advantage is a good thing.

In Joe Eppele's case, using size to your advantage is a good thing.

At 6'8" and 275 pounds, Eppele has learned to put his massive size and strength to good use and has matured into a super-solid performer in three separate track and field throwing disciplines. This year, Eppele was the top performer in the shot put at the North Shore Secondary Schools Athletic Association's (NSSSAA) meet, launching the heavy lead ball 14.38 metres.

He followed that with another top-performer effort in both the discus (37.53 metres) and the hammer throw (51.18 metres) at the British Columbia Championships. Eppele also finished first in the shot put at the high school provincials and third in the hammer throw.

"I've had a good season," said the gentle giant. "It's taken a lot of work but it's all worth it."

Last weekend, he earned a spot on the junior provincial team for his solid showing at the BC Athletics Junior Championships. Although he'll be competing against older, more experienced athletes, he's stoked about the challenge.

"I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a challenge but I'm just going to go and do my best," he said.

"My coach figures I'll be able to finish second or third. I'm hoping to do well." Eppele also plays football, as a defensive tackle and offensive guard for the HSS Sounders, but will be heading to Vancouver College to study next year, and increase his chances at getting a scholarship to university in the United States.

"I'm hoping to get a football scholarship, and continue to do track and field as well."

Because of his size, Eppele was encouraged by others to get into the sport.

"Once people started getting behind me, it was a lot easier to push myself and put more time into it. I feel my size has helped me out quite a bit - I can throw from higher up which gives me a better trajectory."

Eppele trains three to four times a week in Richmond, and is heading to Saskatoon this weekend to compete in the national championships.

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