Track and field impresses at first annual Sanderson Classic

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U of R track team won multiple medals this past weekend. Ellian Mikkola

Ron Maclean led the Cougars with wins in both the 1000m and 1500m runs.

The University of Regina track and field team is beginning to wind up their indoor season. They competed at the first annual Sanderson Classic at a brand-new track at the University of Saskatchewan. The meet, which ran Jan. 10-11, featured many Canada West teams who were trying out the new surface in advance of the Canada West Championships, which U of S will be hosting on Feb. 21-22.

The team had many top-three finishes, led by Canada West cross-country rookie of the year Ron Maclean, who won both the 1000m and 1500m races. Thomas Heidl added another win in the men’s 60m hurdles, and the U of R also got a top finish on the women’s side from reigning U Sports rookie of the year, Joely Welburn. The second-year jumper led a podium sweep in the long jump where she was joined by fellow Cougars Allyson Edwards and Erika Stockhorst. Kaila Naigum finished third place in the 1500m run and Stockhorst added another third-place finish in the triple jump. On the men’s side, Ret Brailsford grabbed third in the 600m, and Brayden Mytopher finished just behind Maclean in the 1500m. In the jumping events the Cougars were strong as well, where Scott Joseph and Logan Fettes combined for a two-three finish in the triple jump.

The meet was a success for the Cougars overall. They put up over 20 top-twelve U Sports ranked performances, which is the cut-off for U Sports qualifying. Although it is still early in the season, for Maclean that was a big success.

“The team did really good this weekend. Everyone was racing with grit which was exciting to watch.”

In Maclean’s own races, the highlight was a competitive 1000m run.

“It was my season opener, so I wasn’t really sure what kind of shape I was in. It was one of the most aggressive races I’ve been in. In those 1k’s everyone is so evenly matched, and you’re also bunched together.”

The stacked field included  the 2019 Canada West gold medalist, the University of Manitoba’s Simon Berube as well as bronze medalist, the U of S’ Jared Walsh; it was a trial by fire for the rookie.

“I ended up being boxed for most of that race, which was a little nerve wracking but with about two laps to go I saw McBride and Mytopher go up to the front. I got out of the box at 300 to go and ran as fast as I could. Berube was catching me over the home stretch but I was able to hold on.”

Maclean was also impressed by his teammates, particularly Heidl’s dominant 60m hurdles.

“He ran like a tenth of a second off U Sports auto qualifying and he beat a previous U Sports Champ. It was an impressive run.”

The team competes again Jan. 17-18 at the Golden Bear Open in Edmoton, on the way to the Canada West Championships.

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