By Ryan Laverty
The Dinos Track and Field team left for Sherbrooke, Quebec on Wednesday, hell bent on making their presence felt at this weekend’s Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union Championships. Eleven women and 10 men will represent our institution in la belle province.
The women are coming off an impressive second-place finish behind the University of Saskatchewan at the Canada West meet two weeks ago. Dino ladies are ranked sixth
in the nation going into the competition.
"The Canada West Conference was extremely strong this year," said Assistant Coach Doug Lamont. "Saskatchewan is likely going to be competing for the national championship."
The Dinos are comprised of mainly first-and-second-year students and will surely get better with age.
"For this core of girls to finish in the top five or six in the nation would be a great accomplishment," said Lamont. "And it is very likely that they will."
The women’s team will be led by Samantha Anderson, who had a fantastic year to this point, qualifying in 60m hurdles, long jump and the pentathlon. Anderson is ranked sixth in the nation in the pent and will be joined by teammates Melissa Van Hal and Michelle Romance, ranked fourth and seventh respectively. With three girls in the top seven, the pentathlon should help the Dinos in the overall team score. Anderson will also be forced to share the track with Jessica King who is ranked fifth in the 60m
Amy Barnett will lead off the women’s relay teams and is also ranked third in the 600m event
and fourth in the 300m. Megan Czekowski, King and Carolyn Tom will make up the rest of the relay team. They are ranked fourth in the 4×200 and eighth in the 4×400 respectively. But, according to coach Lamont, "they can go faster."
On the men’s side, sprinter Darren Clarke is ranked third in the 600m and the 300m and will lead the Dinos. Clarke will also anchor the men’s relay teams who have their work cut out for them, with their best time being some three seconds off the pace of top-ranked Saskatchewan. Trevor Phillips is ranked sixth and is our only representative in the men’s pentathlon, but he’ll be in tough against competitors from Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Clarke will be joined in the 600m by first-year U of C student and darkhorse Canada West winner from two weeks ago Luke Ratzlaff. While both he and Clarke are extremely strong runners, Ratzlaff undoubtedly surprised a few people by qualifying for the national championships at such an early stage of his career.
The men fell out of the national top 10 rankings a few weeks ago and are looking to redeem themselves next weekend. While the team would like to win the team championship, they are realistic and a spot in the national rankings is the goal for the competition.
The women are the stronger of the two squads, but both will have to compete as hard as they can this weekend. There may be triumphs and there may be upsets, but whatever happens you can bet it won’t be for lack of effort. While team competition is means prestige for the winning institution, track and field is a competition between individuals. It is a battle to be faster, higher, longer and stronger; and in the end, it is the pride of the athlete that will drive them to excellence. Good luck to all those who will represent this school and themselves in Sherbrooke.