By Aritra Das
While most of us were panicking about the imminent end of Reading Week–and the lack of “reading” we actually did, the Dinos track and field team was busy competing at the Canada West Track and Field Championships at the University of Regina Feb. 25-26. The Dinos women, as expected, performed very well as a team, claiming the top overall spot with 135 points. The Dinos men managed sixth place, scraping 16 points together.
The women dominated in several events, with Jessica Zelinka putting on the best show. She excelled in numerous disciplines, particularly the pentathlon. She won all five events, keeping all of her competitors on the other side of the universe. Her score shattered the old CW record at 4,326. Her nearest competitor scored a measly 3,493 points. Zelinka’s teammate Karen Baerg tried to get out of her monstrous shadow, but placed a strong fourth with 3,271 points.
Zelinka continued to dominate in other events, jumping for a 1.7m tie for first in the high jump. Her teammates Rachelle Nelson and Baerg leaped to fourth and fifth with jumps of 1.65m and 1.64m respectively. In the long jump, Zelinka was bound to a 1.46m jump, good enough for second place. Nelson and Baerg again managed top ten finishes.
If that isn’t enough yet, Zelinka toppled the competition in the 60m hurdles with teammates Jessica King and Diana Gruber close behind in third and fifth respectively.
Other accomplishments for Zelinka included bronze in the 60m dash and a fourth place finish in the shot put.
The triple jump saw Dino domination with Nelson, Candice Laverty, Tricia Palmer and Kim Tse taking the third through sixth spots.
In the medium distance events our ladies fared well as usual. Veronique St. Pierre, Jackie Jones and Renee Kaylor managed third, fourth and fifth in the 600m run.
The Dinos ran things in the longer events too. Shannon Slater and Heather Sim were first and fourth in the 1500m run, with Emily Stevenson and Lindsay Winter cracking the top ten. The U of C also placed four ladies in the 1000m top ten, including Kaylor, Sim, Slater and Jones. Winter and Slater also managed fourth and fifth in the grueling 3000m event.
In relay action our ladies kicked some 4X800m ass, taking the gold. They also earned silver in the 4X400m and were bronzed by the 4X200m sun.
On the men’s side in the running events, Geoff Kerr pulled a sixth out of the 3000m hat. In jumps, Mark Swanlund and Matthew Ng long jumped to sixth and seventh respectively. The Dinos took those same places in the triple jump with John Fairbairn stepping into Swanlund’s place, who moved down one.
With such a dominant performance at CW championships, it’s anyone’s guess how the ladies might fare at nationals, which take place Mar. 10-12 at the University of Manitoba. Hopefully someone other than the volleysaurs will bring home a pennant this year!
Setting the pace
The Dinos cleaned up shop in terms of ladies awards this season, receiving four of five possible awards. Jones was named the Female TSN Award winner. Nelson earned herself Female Rookie of the Year honors for producing some excellent first-year results. Dinos Head Coach Les Gramantik received the Female Coach of the Year tribute. Finally, who can forget Zelinka, Female Track Athlete of the Year for a third consecutive season. Her incredible performance in the pentathlon has made her eighth in the world! I think that was enough to earn her Canada West Athlete of the Week salutations. She will vie for more gold with the Dinos at nationals and hopefully will repeat as CIS Female Track Athlete of the Year.