At the Canadian Interuniversity Sport track and field championships in Windsor, On. the University of Saskatchewan team earned three individual medals and one team medal to cap off the 2014–15 season.
Women’s high jump gold medalist Lauren Taylor earned the Huskies’ top performance at the competition. Not to be outdone, the fifth-year Taylor ended her CIS career on a high note as she shattered her personal best with the winning leap measured at 1.82 metres.
“My old [personal best] was 1.72 metres, so to jump that much higher doesn’t happen very often. It was definitely surprising, usually a new [personal best] is only one or two centimeters,” Taylor said of her gold medal win.
It was a long and grueling weekend for the graduating Huskie as her boyfriend was in the hospital while she was away. With him in her thoughts, she competed hard in the pentathlon but just missed the podium and wound up in fourth. Two short days later, she was crowned the top high jumper in the CIS.
“It was a lot to process. My boyfriend had surgery the day before the pent [March 11] so I was stressed out from that and pentathlons are always an emotional roller coaster. Each event is separate,” Taylor said. “I started out with a [personal best] in hurdles and it got harder from there. So it was a lot to process going from lows to highs, to lows to highs.”
With the final jumps of her CIS career ultimately earning her a gold medal, Taylor was definitely proud of her hard work paying off.
“It feels so fulfilling [and] validating more than anything. I’ve put so much into training and to see it all come together is nice,” she said.
Although the gold medal is exactly what she hoped for at the championships, it isn’t exactly what Taylor will remember most about her time with the Huskie athletics program.
“It’s definitely going to be up there but that was only one moment. The actual training and being at the track all day every day is going to stick with you,” Taylor said. “I really, really enjoyed training and the people I trained with and bonding with the team and the coaches.”
Looking at the rest of the Huskies’ performances, on March 12 on day one of competition, the Dogs earned two medals and the women’s team sat tied for second place with 19 points. The first piece of hardware came courtesy of Olena Olenick, as she won a silver medal in women’s weight throw. Fresh off of a Canada West gold, Olenick took second place with a throw of 17.45 metres. Also on the opening day of competition, third-year Astrid Nyame earned a bronze in women’s pentathlon with a score of 3,787. Of the five events, she won the hurdles portion and finished second in long jump en route to the third place finish. Last year’s bronze medallist, Taylor, was a mere 100 points away from reclaiming that medal, but took fourth place with 3,687 points.
Day two of the meet saw no medals coming Saskatchewan’s way, but two great performances would fall just short of the podium. Nyame was back at it on March 13 and this time would finish fourth in the 60 metres hurdles, with a time of 8.52. Second-year Graham Black, who won gold at the CanWest championships in the 300 metre sprint, also went home with a fourth place finish after he posted a time of 34.72 in the 300 metre final.
The third and final day on March 14 saw the Huskies take home two more medals. The 4×200 metre relay team consisting of Lenny Williams, Jared Olson, Garrett Peters and Black picked up a bronze medal clocking in with a time of 1:28.93. Alternate runner Kieran Johnston ran in the qualifying heats and will also earn a bronze medal with the team.
When all was said and done, the women’s team finished sixth with 39 points and the men wound up in 17th after tallying just 13 points over the course of the weekend.