Countdown to regular season
Cougars supply athletes and coach to Summer Games
Article: Autumn McDowell – Sports Editor
University of Regina athletes are headed to the national stage.
A total of 17 members from the Cougars track and field team have been selected to participate in the Canada Summer Games from Aug. 2-17 in Sherbrooke, Que. with 16 competing as a part of team Saskatchewan, and one with team Manitoba.
In order to represent their home province, these athletes first had to compete at a trial meet, where they have to reach qualifying standards as well as finish in the top two in their respective events.
But the athletes won’t be the only ones representing the Cougars.
Bruce McCannel, the Cougars head coach, will also be traveling to Sherbrooke, Que. as a member of the jumps and combined events coaching staff.
“I was on the coaching committee for the Western Canada Summer Games in 2011 but this will be my first time as part of the coaching staff for the Canada Games,” said McCannel, who is approaching his fifth year as the Cougars head coach. “The games is a great atmosphere; it’s a big opportunity for the athletes and we have a lot of Cougars going.”
With multiple Cougars attending the event, fans should have a lot to cheer for, as many team members have the potential to be reach the podium.
Tait Nystuen, who began the summer by repeating as the 400-metre hurdles champion at the Canadian Track and Field championships, is one to watch for. Fellow teammate Megan Rumpel, who captured a Canada West silver medal in the pentathlon, will also be a strong contender for a medal and Joy Becker, one of the top ranked long jumpers going into the season and the lone Cougar competing for team Manitoba, is sure to have a strong performance.
Not only is the Canada Summer Games an opportunity for national exposure for Cougars athletes, McCannel also believes it will keep their skills sharp for the upcoming season.
“I think it will be great for the university athletes to have more competitions that they are training throughout the whole summer for,” he said. “Rather than just have a summer where you just do one or two competitions, this year the athletes have a goal at the end of the season which they are training very hard for.
“The Canada Games is a very high level competition which keeps them improving and developing throughout the summer so they are able to enter the season at a higher level and not where they left off last season.”
But for McCannel, having the chance to support his athletes is a great way to end his summer.
“I like going and supporting the athletes that are on our team,” he said. “Getting the chance to coach them at a high level is a great opportunity.”