Holiday in the sun
Article: Paige Kreutzwieser – Staff Writer
While you were spending your days shovelling snow and avoiding ice patches, Jeremy Eckert was hanging out in the sun down in Arizona.
The U of R track athlete spent the past couple months training down south. So, while he may not have actually been just “hanging out,” he sure wasn’t used to the weather when he got back home.
Not only has Eckert been seeing the sun down south, he also got to spend some time in Nice, France this summer. Alongside Tait Nystuen, a Cougar hurdler, the two competed in the Jeux de la Francophone in September.
It may not have been his best performance but being as late in the season as it was, Eckert said it was just nice for him to get more international experience.
“I jumped against the number three ranked athlete in the world there, so jumping against those guys is a huge deal,” he said, who admitted it also didn’t hurt that he was in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. “Every day you would just train and then go down to the beach and chill. It was super cool.”
Eckert was also able to attend the World University Games in Kazan, Russia from July 6-17, where he jumped close to his personal best. “I was really happy about that, and I also got to sit on the bench beside the Olympic gold medalist,” Eckert said. “So that was pretty wild.” Since Eckert knew he was heading to France, he decided to work out his school schedule to take all online classes. This allowed him the opportunity to head down to Arizona, where he was able to connect with coach Dan Pfaff.
“Dan has coached more Olympians than I know track athletes,” explained Eckert.
Because of the experience he got with Pfaff, Eckert is now looking to make things work to go back down and train again in January.
“We had a pole vaulter who got fifth in the Olympics, we had the American record holder in pole vault who was fourth best all-time ever, the world record holder in hurdles trained there. It was just stacked,” he said.
After all the training and competing Eckert has been doing, you’d think he may want to take a break. Unfortunately, the Cougar track season started last weekend with the annual Intrasquad Meet.
For Eckert, he did decide to take a break from the Cougar meet since, when I spoke to him last week, he had just gotten home one hour prior from a 23-hour drive.
But Eckert is looking forward to seeing where his teammates are at. Lex Ewen, who had a great season last year, Nystuen, who is a huge part of the relay team, and female athlete Joy Becker are some of the Cougars that Eckert knows will be huge assets to the team.
For himself, Eckert wants to have his best season ever.
“The Canada West record [for high jump] is 2.16 and my personal best is 2.19, so I hope to secure that,” he said. “The CIS record is 2.24, which is only three or four cm off the Olympic record jump, so if a lot of things go well this season that will be in reach.”
Eckert knows that losing Cougars like Kelly Wiebe, Iain Fyfe, and Karissa LePage were huge hits to the team. But with this year’s squad, he thinks they have just as much potential to win Canada West again – especially on the guys side.
“We lost a lot of good athletes but at the same time we gained a whole bunch of athletes who were red-shirting and everyone is improving,” Eckert said, “So I think we have really good potential.”
The Cougars next meet will be Dec. 7 at the Friendship Games held at the Regina Fieldhouse.Image: Arthur Ward