By Nicole Kobie
"I’ve been a little busy," said Track and Field/Cross Country Head Coach Les Gramantik.
That’s quite the understatement, considering what he’s been up to all summer. As the head coach of the Canadian team at the 2001 World Track and Field Championships in Edmonton this past August, he’s had his work cut out for him.
"It was interesting, a challenge and quite an honour," he said of the experience. "So much happened."
But don’t worry, Gramantik is back for another season in Calgary, which will be his 15th with the Dinos.
Last year the women’s team placed second in the Canada West conference and the men’s team placed fifth–both placed eighth in Canadian Interuniversity Sports–and Gramantik was awarded Coach of the Year honours for his work.
This past summer, various team members competed at the club level. Some made the Canadian national team. One, Samantha Anderson, did so well she’ll be competing this October in Santa Fe, Argentina.
And there’s no reason this season should be any different.
"Virtually everybody is returning," said Gramantik. "There’s no reason to believe we’re not going to have a strong team this year.
"Contrary to other sports, track and field… doesn’t really go wild on recruiting. It’s [more] important for us that people choose to come here on their own, [rather] than me telling them to come and do this or that. Every year we get some good quality young people, so we’ll go from there."
The team meeting for track was Wed., Sept. 12, and cross country starts up next week. The team doesn’t use tryouts, though. Essentially, anyone who shows up and is willing to work, can train to compete. After several weeks, a coach will review the athlete and offer some direction, or cut them if necessary.
"Most of the time we realize those who aren’t really ready or they think track is easy, they quit on their own," Gramantik said. "We don’t have to cut people."
The team is usually around 50 athletes strong and has a travelling roster of 40.
While cross country starts up Sept. 22, in Red Deer, track athletes are in for a long few months of training until competitions start in January.