Despite the snowy conditions of late, the University of Calgary’s track and field team is preparing for their upcoming season. Winter training sessions and some pre-season provincial meets have been the focus for the team thus far, but with the annual Canada West tournament only two weeks away, they are looking to put forth another solid showing.
If this year’s tournament in Winnipeg is to follow the tradition of years past, then the U of C will no doubt have a rewarding competition. The men’s team is looking to capture their third straight championship, and although the women’s team isn’t the heavy favourite they are hoping to turn out some strong individual performances.
Head coach Les Gramantik remarks modestly about the team’s chances for victory.
"I’m hoping that the men’s side will be challenging for the title again. They are still very competitive and still have a very good group from the last two years," he says enthusiastically. "The women’s team has improved in the last year and definitely has some good quality athletes."
As for individual recognition on this year’s team, there are a handful of good athletes that are expected to compete very strong within their respective events. Lanny Mann, Andrew Alley, Trevor Phillips, Jodi Friesen, and Jessica King are just some of this year’s team members that are all considered to be solid Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union competitors. Showings are expected in long distance, 600m and hurdles. However, Gramantik emphasizes that, "not one single person can win or lose a track and field championship, everyone must contributed to a team’s success."
Most of the western universities will be represented at the Canada Wests in two weeks time. Heavy competition is going to come from the University of Saskatchewan, and the west coast schools who, unlike the U of C, have the benefit of practicing on the outdoor tracks year round. In addition to the familiar schools competing from previous years, this year’s tournament will include a new university athletic program from Abbotsford. Winning programs will go on to compete later in March in Montreal at the CIAU championships.