Canada West Championsh​ip Preview

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February 21, 2013, Edmonton, AB (ISN) – Regina Fieldhouse is the site of the 2013 Canada West track & field championships as the University of Regina Cougars host the two-day event, Feb.22-23.

Men’s teams will compete for the R.E. DuWors Trophy, while women will battle for the Eleanor Haslam Trophy. Individually, there will be awards for top performers, rookies and coaches.

ALBERTA GOLDEN BEARS & PANDAS

EDMONTON – The Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas head to the Canada West championship looking for top-six finishes. The Pandas finished with a conference bronze medal in 2012, while the Golden Bears were sixth.

Alberta’s bronze last year was the program’s third consecutive women’s team podium finish and seventh top-three in eight seasons.

Both Alberta teams head to the University of Regina with a stable of key student-athletes, many of whom are CIS and Canada West medalists.

The Pandas look to a number of athletes for medals at the conference championship, including Courtney Wilkes and fifth-year team captain Kathryn McCaffrey in the 60m hurdles and triple jump, as well as sprinters Leah Walkeden, and Katrina Martin. Walkeden, McCaffrey and Wilkes are won a pair of medals at last year’s conference championship, and fourth-year thrower Ciera Heshka-Wolf, who won conference bronze last season, remains a podium threat in the weight throw this year as well.

Both of Alberta’s 4x200m relay teams are medal contenders.

On the men’s side, three-time Canada West gold medalist Stephen McPhee represents Alberta’s best chance at a gold medal, as the 2012 Canada West Male Field Athlete of the Meet is the man to beat long jump. Sophomore Teodor Kostelnik joins McPhee in the long jump pits, while Isaac Tyler will contend in the high jump. Returning sprinters Ben Williams, who picked up silver last season, and Yembeh Moiba, who is a receiver with the Golden Bears football program, are podium threats in the 60m dash as well. Fourth-year Mitchell Home was a bronze medalist last year in the 300m run, while Smith Wright, another Golden Bears football player, returns to the shot put circle after claiming silver in 2012 at his first Canada West track and field championship. http://www.bears.ualberta.ca/

CALGARY DINOS

CALGARY – Last season the Dinos won the men’s Canada West banner and the women won four CIS medals. Calgary’s men’s team will look to defend their 2012 conference title, while the women also hope to bring home a banner.

The men’s team returns all four members of its gold medal winning conference championship 4x200m relay team with the likes of Adam Clack, Garrett King, Stewart Bury-Jones and Josh Breski, as well as Craig Thomas, specializing in the pentathlon and currently ranked second in CIS and Curtis Merry, who runs the 3000m. Veterans Trent Johnston and Riley Booth also return for the long jump and triple jump, respectively. Middle distance runner Brad Bickley ranks first in the conference in the 1000m and second at 600m.

The women’s team has a number of standouts. Notably, Rachel Machin and Rachael McIntosh are both favourites to do well for the Dinos. Machin has two CIS medals added to her resume from the 2012 CIS championships where she won silver in the high jump and a bronze in the long jump. The third-year is presently ranked second in the country in the high jump for this season. McIntosh won a gold of her own for the Dinos, taking the pentathlon title. The third-year student-athlete is still ranked at # 1 heading into this weekend.

Rookie Jenna Westaway is presently ranked # 1 in the nation at 600m, fifth-year Alison Kendall comes in at # 1 in Canada West in the triple jump, and third-year thrower Sam Groeneveld gives the Dinos a boost in that category, ranking first in the conference at shot put and weight throw. Pole vaulters Kimmy Stephenson and Paige Ridout come in at second and third, respectively, in Canada West. The Dinos also return three of four members of their CIS gold medal winning 4x200m relay team. http://www.godinos.com/

LETHBRIDGE PRONGHORNS

LETHBRIDGE, AB – For the second year in a row, the Lethbridge Pronghorn will send 22 athletes to the Canada West championships and there will be plenty of ‘Horns making their first appearance.

In his first season with the Pronghorns, freshman Peter Millman is undefeated in the weight throw through his first three collegiate events. In addition to being a medal hopeful in the weight throw, the Truro, NS native is a threat in the shot put event, where he ranks second in the conference heading into the championships. Fellow thrower Ryan Sommer is ranked fifth in the shot put and is an outside threat to reach the podium.

On the track second-year Pronghorn Phillip Rockerbie has also had a strong start to his season and heads to Regina ranked third in Canada West in hurdles and is another Pronghorn medal hopeful.

The Pronghorn women will be led by a pair of first-year throwers, with Kayla Gallagher and Montana Forsyth. Gallagher is ranked third in Canada West for the weight throw, while Forsyth is ranked sixth in weight throw and will be an outside threat to reach the podium. http://www.gohorns.ca/

MANITOBA BISONS

WINNIPEG – Leading up to the Canada West championships, the Manitoba Bisons two rosters have different goals as the women’s side is looking for a top-five finish, while the men’s side has a realistic chance to compete for a conference title.

The Bison men’s team will be large with 29 student-athletes. In the conference rankings, rookie Alhaji Mansaray has already CIS qualified in the high jump and second in Canada West plus eighth in 60m and triple jump. Third year and co-captain Wilfred Samking is second in 60m and fifth in 60m hurdles; rookie Wyatt Eyford is second in pentathlon plus seventh in 60m hurdles and high jump; third year Cody Mages is third in 600m; third year Arthur Buchanan is fifth and second year Neil Clark is eighth in high jump and fourth year Eric Furletti is fourth in pole vault while rookie Ezra Hackie is seventh in shot put. Fourth year Connor Macaulay is also fifth in weight toss.

Along with Eyford, third year Paul Rydberg is third and Buchanan is fifth in the pentathlon. Second year Matthew Fitkowsky is seventh in 300m while fifth year Stephen Campbell is seventh in 1000m. In addition, the Bison men relays are all ranked in the Top 4 with the 4x400m ranked second, the 4×200 is third and the 4x800m relay team is ranked fourth.

The Bisons women’s team is less experienced and will have 20 members. In the conference rankings, second year Melissa Richards is fourth in pole vault and ninth in triple jump; rookie Tamara Paetsch is fifth in high jump; fourth year Amanda Gundrum is fourth in triple jump; third year Sarah Boila is eighth in pole vault; second year Sade Ogungbemi is eighth in the 60m while third year Allison Balasko is eighth in weight toss and second year Alexa Matwyczuk is tenth in shot put. Bison women’s relays are ranked fifth for the 4x200m, sixth for the 4x400m and 4x800m.

http://www.gobisons.ca/

REGINA COUGARS

REGINA – The Regina Cougars men are looking to avenge their second-place finish from last season, when they were edged by Calgary by a single point for the conference championship. The Cougars have seven members coming in as the top-ranked athletes in the conference, though two of those – Tait Nystuen (300m) and Chris Pickering (shot put) are not expected to compete this weekend.

Kelly Wiebe and Jeremy Eckert will both be chasing history this weekend for the Cougars. Wiebe has run an adjusted season-best time of 8:08.36 in the 3000-metre run, which would break a Canada West championship record set by UBC’s Jeff Scheibler back in 1996. Eckert’s season best in the high jump is 2.17 metres, which is two centimetres higher than Dean Bauch’s 1979 conference championship record of 2.15.

Also entering the meet ranked #1 in the conference is Lex Ewen in the long jump, Codey Pakula in the weight throw, and Arthur Ward in the triple jump. The Cougars also have a pair of athletes ranked No. 3 in Canada West, including Ahmed Alkabary (long jump) and Connor MacDonald (high jump).

The women’s team, which has been battling injuries all season long, will go into this weekend’s meet with a depleted roster of 12 competitors. Rookie Joy Becker comes into the meet ranked #1 in the conference in the long jump, as her season-best leap of 5.95 metres is also the second best in the CIS this year and is just one centimetre off of Janine Polischuk’s University of Regina record.

Megan Rumpel should also score some points for the Cougars on the women’s side, as she enters the weekend ranked #3 in the conference in both the high jump and the pentathlon.

http://www.reginacougars.com/

SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES

SASKATOON – With a young team, the Saskatchewan Huskies are looking to make a splash in Regina.

The women’s team will look to defend their third title in four seasons. Returning are thrower Karla Gabruch, triple-jumper Cossy Nachilobe and middle distance sprinter Amanda Banks. Gabruch won double-gold in shot put and weight throw one year ago, while Nachilobe won gold in triple jump. Banks was a key member of the gold medal 4X400m relay team and the silver medal 4X800m relay team.

Also returning to the squad in search of another conference medal and a shot at the CIS event are middle distance runners Katrin Ritchie and Morgan Sawatzky. Both had success in the 300m and relays in 2012. Middle/long distance runners Davis Guenther and Daniel Block will look for strong performances after just missing the podium one year ago. Lauren Taylor and Cole Digel will also look for big performances in the pentathlon.

Tough losses for the team include 2012 CIS gold medalists in pole vault (Lane Britnell) and pentathlon (Keegan Sharp) to injuries, as well as CIS silver medalist high-jumper Lincoln Crooks. The Huskies graduated five fifth-year athletes from the 2012 women’s team and also lost Canada West Track Female Athlete of the Year Sharai Siemens, who won three gold medals and one silver medal in 2012. http://huskies.usask.ca/

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS

LANGLEY, B.C. – The Trinity Western Spartans come to this year’s Canada West championships as a school on the rise. After making a splash at last year’s championships by collecting six medals, this year – the Spartans third year back competing in Canada West and the CIS – TWU is expecting to take a big leap forward from last year’s seventh place finish on both the men’s and women’s sides.

The women’s team, which has been ranked in the CIS Top 10 ever since Week 2, enters this weekend with four athletes atop the Canada West rankings. The Spartans are led by last year’s gold medalist in the 1500m and silver medalist in the 1000m Fiona Benson, who leads the conference in both the 1500m (4:22.97) and the 3000m (9:30.59) but, like last year, this weekend will run in the 1000m and 1500m.

Amongst the other top ranked women’s athletes are last year’s silver medalist Emma Nuttall in high jump (1.79m), Liza Whitehead in the 60m (7.55) and Rebecca Marchant in pole vault (4.01m). Beyond those four, the Spartans will also be in medal contention in variety of other disciplines, most notably in the 60m hurdles, with # 2 ranked Hazel Ross, triple jump, with # 3 Marchant, and the 3000m, with # 2 Alison Jackson.

On the men’s side, the Spartans will be led by last year’s 60m hurdles gold medalist Calum Innes, who enters this weekend atop the conference rankings with a season’s best time of 8.13. After Innes, expect the Spartans to be in medal contention in pole vault, with both # 2 Jesse Phillips (4.50m) and # 5 Jamie Sinclair (4.41m) in the mix, the 60m, with # 6 Nathan George (6.95) and No. 7 Innes (7.01) leading the way, and in both the 1500m and 3000m, with Blair Johnston, who won a bronze medal in the 1500m last year, pacing TWU. http://www.twu.ca/athletics/

 

 

 

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