New track season opens for Canada West

Pounding feet under a yellow sun, speed pulling sweat along concentrated foreheads, or a blue sky framing a vaulter over a hair-thin pole. The traditionally summer sport of track and field gives everyone lasting images of the classic sport. But as snow and Arctic winds force us into tocques and mittens, the Dinos track and field team commences its winter season under fluorescents. The indoor season kicks off this weekend with a quad meet in Saskatoon.

With a revamped women’s team Head Coach Les Gramantik is confident that they will be competitive and provide a base on which to build.

"We have almost a totally new women’s team," reports Gramantik. "We are better than last year but it will take a few years."

One of the people adding talent to this year’s women’s team is rookie and first-year engineering student Sam Anderson. With seven years experience in track she is not new to competition, but still finds the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union format a little intimidating.

"It is a lot different [from high school] because there are no age groups," says Anderson. "You could be competing against someone 10 years older."

Anderson was recently injured and will not attend next weekend’s meet. She anticipates a quick recovery and hopes to qualify for CIAU’s in March.

The men’s team carries higher expectations after winning the Canada West championship for the past two years and ranking fourth in the country last year.

"We can only go down from there," states Gramantik.

Though the team lost a number of people to graduation a strong core was also retained.

"From the guys we took to CI’s last year we only lost a few," says captain Michael Steen. "We are quite confident we are going to win again."

Steen is a fifth-year athlete competing in pole vault and hurdles. He points to fellow athlete Scott Kimmins as someone to watch for on the team.

"He did well last year and has improved considerably," says Steen. Kimmins competes in long jump, triple jump and hurdles.

The strength of the Canada West remains a challenge for the men’s team with both Saskatchewan and Alberta being strong competitors for the conference title.

"We feel it is the strongest conference because we have half of Canada," says Steen.

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