Time for a victory lap

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Cougars men’s track and field team repeat as Canada West champions

Jonathan Hamelin
Sports Editor

The Max Bell Fieldhouse in Winnipeg may be in need of some repairs. The University of Regina Cougars men’s track and field team has torn up the track.

Last weekend, the Cougar men claimed their second Canada West title in a row, and second ever, putting up an outstanding 106 points. Regina finished well ahead of the Calgary Dinos (79), Alberta Golden Bears (76), and the host Manitoba Bisons (55).

“Every single person came out and did at least what we hoped they’d do and, in a lot of cases, much more,” Cougars head coach Bruce McCannel wrote about the men’s team in a statement posted to reginacougars.com. “Everybody performed fantastic and the team came out and really showed they wanted to repeat as champions.”

The men’s team was powered by gold-medal finishes from Jeremy Eckert (high jump, pentathlon), Chris Pickering (weight throw), David Walford (triple jump), Kelly Wiebe (3000-metre run), and the 4x200m relay team. At the conference meet last year, Eckert won the high jump while Wiebe placed first in the 3000m.

Pickering (shot put), Connor MacDonald (high jump, long jump) and Mason Foote (60m dash) all picked up silver medals in their respective events. Taking home bronze medals were Eckert (long jump), MacDonald (triple jump), Iain Fyfe (3000m run), and Tait Nystuen (300m dash).

In high jump, Eckert cleared the bar at 2.11m, while MacDonald was close behind at 2.01. Jarrett Hoffart of Regina finished sixth at 1.87m. Eckert won the pentathlon by finishing first in high jump (2.13m), second in long jump (7.01m), third in the 60m hurdles (8.88 seconds), sixth in the 1000m (three minutes 2.15 seconds), and seventh in shot put (10.63m). Michael Barber also competed in the pentathlon for the Cougars. He was first in shot put (12.90m), third in the 1000m (2:45.27), sixth in the hurdles (9.19), fifth in high jump (1.76m), and seventh in long jump (5.97m).

Pickering won the 35lb weight toss with a throw of 16.06m, while fellow Cougar Codey Pakula had a toss of 14.69 to finish fifth. Walford’s jump of 13.94m was good enough to secure him the victory in long jump, with teammates MacDonald (third, 13.33), Lex Ewen (eighth, 12.93), and Torey Welsh (10th, 12.07) finishing behind him.

Wiebe posted a 8:19.82 first-place time in the 3000m. Other athletes competing for Regina were Fyfe (third, 8:30.59), Matt Johnson (12th, 8:45.82), and Michael Middlemiss (15th, 8:59.60). The 4X200m relay team, comprised of Foote, Nystuen, Walford, and Ethan Gardner, came in first with a time of 1:27.98.

On the women’s side, the Cougars finished fourth with 58 points. The Saskatchewan Huskies (65), Alberta Pandas (102.5), and Calgary (113.5) finished ahead of them. Last season, Regina came in fifth.

“It was great to see the women improve their finish from last year,” said McCannel. “We ended up just shy of 60 points and both Merrissa Margetts and Chelsea Valois were outstanding. Amanda Ruller also had an incredible performance considering she was injured just two weeks ago.”

No Cougar women picked up gold, but Valois took home silver in the pentathlon and Nicole Breker won silver in triple jump. Bronze medals were received by Margetts (60m hurdles), Ruller (60m dash), Shalane Haselhan (high jump), and Gina Jestadt (triple jump).

In the pentathlon, Valois placed first in long jump (5.52m), tied for first in high jump (1.70m), finished second in the 60m hurdles (9.02) and shot put (11.98m), and fourth in the 800m (2:34.73). In triple jump, Breker jumped 11.36m.

The next step for the Cougars is the CIS championships, where they will be sending several athletes. The championships begin March 10 in Sherbrooke, Que.

Wiebe was also busy earlier in the week, competing in the North America, Central America, and Caribbean cross-country championships in Port of Spain, Trinidad. He placed ninth in the senior men’s division, finishing the eight-kilometre race in 24:15. Wiebe helped Canada finish second behind the U.S.A in the team standings and he was the third Canadian to cross the finish line.

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