Capping off their regular season, the University of Regina track team dominated once again last weekend at the Regina Fieldhouse.
Rookie Joy Becker is a perfect example of how the Cougars have been a force to reckon with all season, and this weekend was no different.
With a 5.95 metre long jump, Becker took home first place, while also crushing the CIS standard of 5.73 metres – the distance needed to qualify for Nationals.
Becker’s longest jump prior in the season was 5.67 metres. Not only did she jump almost 30 cm more, she was only 1 cm short of the 5.96 metre Cougars record.
On top of all of that, she also had a personal best this weekend in the 60-metre sprint with a time of 7.90 seconds – an event that she hasn’t focused on this season, but due to injuries on the team, coach Bruce McCannel suggested she run.
Fresh out of high school, the university athletic atmosphere was unfamiliar for Becker, but the increased training regime and new indoor environment have only helped her improve. Becker attributes her family, friends and teammates to much of her success.
“It was just such a good vibe this weekend, so it helped being in that energy,” she said.
Alongside Becker, Lex Ewen (long jump), Chantelle Labrecque (weight throw), Shelby Sander (triple jump) are all Cougars who recorded season bests in their events at the Fieldhouse as well as season best times for three 60-metre hurdles athletes – Ian McLellan, Dustin Steininger and Kaishan Aravinthan.
If you didn’t think that list is already long enough, add Matt Johnson, third-year runner on the team, to the record breaking list this season.
“It was just such a good vibe this weekend, so it helped being in that energy." – Joy Becker
Not only did he break the U of R 1,500-metre record at the Golden Bear meet in Edmonton with a time of 3:57.61, he bested himself by shaving off some time with a 3:57.06 at Bison Classic in Winnipeg.
However, Johnson feels his glory will be short lived when fellow runner, Kelly Wiebe, takes to the track at the Canada West Championships in the 1,500 metre.
“It's kind of the reality,” he said. “Kelly is on a whole different level than everyone else. He is a world class athlete.”
Nevertheless, Johnson is pleased with his performances this season and is ready to place second behind Wiebe in the 1,500, and to hit the CIS standard for the 3,000-metre as well.
“I've been very happy. Things have been going exactly how I have been planning and wanting them to go,” explained Johnson, who came off an injury ridden cross country season.
Like Becker, Johnson gives praise to his teammates for much of his success this season.
“Having [Adam Strubey] on the team brought everything to a whole different level, which really helped my training,” he said. “Just having someone who pushes you that extra little bit has been a highlight of my season.”
The Cougars have the fortune of hosting the Canada West Championship games this February, from the 22-23 at the Regina Fieldhouse.
This is an excellent opportunity for our student body to go out and support one of our most successful teams on campus. And, judging by the season our track and field athletes have been having thus far, you’re sure to experience some high-class performances.
Photo by Arthur Ward