In late March, the city of Phoenix, AZ celebrated its 50th annual Scottish Highland Games and Festival, as well as one of the toughest athletic competitions on the Highland Games circuit: the Women’s World Championships. Amongst the 135 total male and female competitors, the Women’s Worlds competition featured eleven of the highest ranked athletes from the US and Canada, all battling to become this year’s world champion. Anu Rytkonen, Finland’s finest female competitor, was also scheduled to compete, but unfortunately fell ill shortly before the competition.
The events were contested in beautiful sunny weather and in traditional order, with current National Champion and Strongwoman competitor Danielle Curry and multiple World Champion Mindy Pockoski dominating the Braemar and Open Stone respectively, at 10.36 and 14.46 meters.
Pockoski, and Curry faced off again in both the Heavy and Light Weight for Distance, with Curry edging out Pockoski in the Heavy at 13.32 meters, and Pockoski returning the favor in the Light Weight with a throw of 23.08 meters. Pockoski’s lifetime best and former World Record was a throw of over 27 meters.
Curry easily took the field in the Heavy Hammer at 23.91, and finished first in the Light Hammer, just ahead of Heather MacDonald, with a throw of 27.61. MacDonald’s final throw reached 27.43, moving her from fifth place to second, behind Curry.
In the height events, there were several close calls and ties, with Curry and Beth Burton attempting 5.48m, but topping out at 5.33m. In the sheaf toss, world record-holder Katie Steingraeber won the competition at 7.62m. Count-backs were crucial in determining places for both events.
At the close of the day, the Caber Toss would break an aggregate tie for third place between Jocelyn Davis and Heather MacDonald. After two cabers and Beth Burton’s best score of the day at 85 degrees, Stephanie Robbins came in second place at 80, and Danielle Curry in third with 75. In the end, Danielle Curry has sealed her victory as this year’s champion, after a grueling battle with returning legend Mindy Pockoski.
writen by Heather MacDonald.