National nod for trackster

By Sean Nyilassy

Dinos Track and Field athlete Jessica Zelinka, a 23-year old Communications and Culture student, has been nationally recognized for her incredible performance in the past. Now in her fourth year of eligibility on the team, Zelinka has won many events during her time at the University of Calgary. Her most recent triumph is receiving the Dr. Fred Tees Memorial Trophy.

The award recognizes the top university track and field athlete in Canada. Zelinka becomes the first Dino to receive the award. It was presented to Dinos Track and Field Head Coach Les Gramantik at the Athletics Canada Technical Congress on Dec. 2 in Toronto. Zelinka was unable to attend the event due to academic commitments in preparation for a training camp in the Dominican Republic.

In last year’s competitions, Zelinka ruled Canada West. Heading into the championships, she was ranked first in the 60m dash, 60m hurdles and pentathlon–a sport in which she set a new record. She received the Canada West Female Track and Field Athlete of the Year for her performance.

Despite sustaining a concussion at CW championships, Zelinka still managed four medallions at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Nationals. A gold and new CIS record in the pentathlon, along with a 60m hurdles gold, 60m dash silver and long jump bronze earned her Outstanding Athlete of the Meet and helped the Dinos to a solid second place finish. She was also awarded with CIS Female Track Athlete of the Year honors for 2003-2004 and was a runner up for the U of C Female Athlete of the Year award. Gramantik expects another excellent season for 2004-2005.

Since university competition ended, Zelinka has competed on the international stage. She was robbed a qualifying spot at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens due to an allegedly wind aided 200m race.

Despite this drawback, Zelinka traveled to Talence, France for the Decastar Invitational in September 2004. Against a field that included many Olympians, she was only four points shy of a top five finish. Her 5,757 points earned her a respectable sixth placing.

After a year of competition as a University of Western Ontario Mustang, Zelinka transferred to the U of C for the 2002-2003 season. She will be on track for her third solid season as a Dino when indoor competition begins this winter.

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