The Huskies track and field team jumped into the 2013 season with an early season victory, defeating the Regina Cougars 161-84 in the annual Prairie Dual non-conference track meet at the Saskatoon Field House Jan. 12.
The yearly meet pits the best university track and field athletes in Saskatchewan against each other. The Huskies proved to be the dominant team — both in the men’s and women’s competitions — in this first meet of the year.
Huskies men’s pole vaulter Lane Britnell had arguably the best showing. His 4.80-metre vault not only garnered a gold medal for his squad, but was also good enough to exceed the Canadian Interuniversity Sport standard of 4.72-metres. By reaching the standard set by the CIS, Britnell gains an automatic berth to the national university track and field meet in March.
Ryan Graf also picked up a gold medal for the Dogs by streaking past the competition in the men’s 60-metre dash with a time of 6.97 seconds, two-tenths of a second faster than anyone else and setting a personal best.
“I’ve never started training this early [in the season] and it’s definitely making a big difference,” Graf said.
Other gold medal-winning male Huskies included Jared Olsen in the 60-metre hurdles, Derek Sawatzky in high jump, Kyle Donsberger in the 300-metre race, Emmett Harrison in the 600-metre, Davis Guenther in the 1000-metre and Nolan Machiskinic. Machiskinic performed exceptionally well, capturing the top prize in shot put and weight throw.
Machiskinic’s feat was matched by Karla Gabruch, a female Huskie athlete who also won gold in shot put and weight throw.
Being dominant in the same events, Gabruch and Machiskinic feed off each other when they are training for track and field meets.
“We throw together and train together every day we have practice,” Machiskinic said.
The remainder of the Dogs women’s squad finished the day strong and gathered all three podium medals in the 60-metre dash, 1000-metre race, 200-metre team relay, high jump and pole vault.
Michelle Young proved to be the quickest female sprinter in the 60-metre dash (7.79 sec) and 60-metre hurdles (8.85 sec), earning two gold medals. Young said it can be a challenge to prepare for the different races in the same day.
“In the 60-metre dash I focus on keeping my head down and driving as long as possible but in the hurdles you have to pop up a lot quicker to jump,” Young said. “It is sometimes hard adjusting when the races are so close.”
Katrin Ritchie (300-metre), Sonia Rees (600-metre), Amanda Banks (1000-metre) Danielle Kabatoff (high jump) and Noelle Loran (pole vault) also added gold medals for the Huskies women’s team and helped lead the squad to a crushing defeat of their interprovincial rivals.
The Huskies will get another chance to prove themselves when they, along with the rest of the Canada West teams, compete in Edmonton Jan. 18 at the annual Golden Bear Open.
Photo: Calvin So