Women’s Elite Highland Games Thrower
See heavy thing. Throw heavy thing. That’s what Jarvina Routt does, and she does it better than pretty much everyone on the planet. Jarvina competes in the Women’s Elite/Pro class of Highland Games Heavy Athletics, meaning she tosses stones, hammers, sheafs and cabers. She tosses them for weight. She tosses them for distance. And she always tosses them in a Sport Kilt.
Jarvina’s love of throwing goes back to high school, where she competed on the track and field team. But she never really thought it would go beyond that until a family friend attended a Scottish festival and saw the skill and strength of the throwers. It had been years since she’d last thrown anything (besides playing backyard catch with her son), but Jarvina overcame her nerves with the encouragement of her husband Stan and signed up for her first competition in 2015.
She was instantly hooked. “It wasn’t just being able to throw again,” Jarvina recalls. “It was the community of amazing people who made me realize that Highland Games was definitely my future.”
To Jarvina, bravery means facing whatever’s in front of you eye to eye, no matter how scared and nervous you are. She was certainly nervous at that first event, especially because she didn’t even own all the needed equipment to practice the various throws she’d be attempting in competition. One thing she was ready for, though, was what to wear.
“I was preparing for my first competition with a small group that did all the research on what I needed to prepare,” she says. “Of course the first thing on the list was a Sport Kilt. I’ll never forget getting that box with my first kilt – it made everything start to feel real.”
As she’s worked her way up through the throwing classes and rankings, she’s honored her father by wearing the U.S. Marine Tartan. Jarvina credits her dad with molding her tough mindset and work ethic, which she passes on to others by recruiting more people to grow the sport.
Her first recruit was her sister, who came from a jumping background in track and field but was so excited after watching Jarvina for a full season that she had to start throwing, and now competes in the Women’s Open class. Jarvina relishes her role as connector. “My favorite thing to do at festivals is talk with people in the crowd,” she says. “They often tell me they wish they could do what I do, and I simply tell them, you can.”
Through her networking and dedicated Instagram page, Jarvina connects with athletes all over the world, helping to find practice groups where they can get a feel for the sport no matter their experience. “I get more pumped to see other people’s progress than my own,” Jarvina says.
The more people who discover and share the love of throwing, the more diverse the sport gets. That’s a huge motivator for Jarvina. “Whether I’m here competing or when I get the amazing opportunity to throw in Scotland, I represent myself and my sport,” she says. “And representation matters.”