The fall semester is just under a month away, bringing with it a new year for University of Regina athletics. For our summer issue, the Carillon has comprised a list of five university athletes that sports fans should keep their eyes on during the school year. Some are coming back from injury while others are looking to follow up dominate seasons. Whatever the reason, these athletes are sure to have all eyes on them when their seasons get underway.
1. Marc Mueller – Rams quarterback
To the chagrin of Rams fans across the U of R, Mueller suffered a season-ending injury to his throwing shoulder during the first possession of the Rams 2011 season, forcing the CFL prospect to watch from the sidelines as the Rams struggled during the rest of the campaign. Now the Rams signal caller is back for his final year with the team. Considering his talent and immense value to the university’s football team, it is fair to say that everyone, CFL scouts included, will be watching Mueller this year.
2. Andrew Nelson – Men’s volleyball
Nelson caught the eyes of the entire country during the 2011 men’s volleyball season. Despite being a fresh-faced rookie, Nelson helped the Cougars put up four wins –believe it or not, that was actually a huge step forward for them. He picked up the CIS rookie-of-the-year award along the way. Last season he became the only player in the history of the men’s volleyball squad to register 25 kills in a game, and he did it not once but twice. Considering he was a first year, is it safe to assume this kid is going to reach some impressive milestones during his career.
3. Jessica Winter – Cougars swimming team
Former Carillon sports editor Autumn McDowell once said “she is basically a fish” when describing the outstanding performances of Jessica Winter last year. Winter, who recently spent time in Montreal at the Canadian Olympic trials, set two school records last season and was the only member of the Cougars swimming team to make it to the CIS championships final round. She has been voted team MVP in both her rookie and sophomore seasons, there is a very good chance she will continue that trend.
4. Kirk Ackerman – Men’s wrestling
Ackerman is one of many outstanding wrestlers that this university has produced. He placed first in four tournaments last year, and snagged a silver medal at the CIS championships –although he admits that anything other than gold was a disappointment. He is coming off of a fairly bad knee injury and it will be interesting to see if he can keep up the impressive form that has allowed him to dominate virtually all of his competition thus far. Knee injuries are an interesting thing though; sometimes people come back 100 per cent, sometimes not. We will have to wait and see.
5. Kelly Wiebe – Cross country
Talking about Kelly Wiebe is beginning to sound like a broken record. But as long as he keeps dominating on the cross country circuit we have no choice to mention, yet again, how damn good this guy is at running really, really far. His coaches all believe that he will be in the Olympics someday; hell, he already beat a pair of former Olympians in a race this past April.