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Huskies track hosts Canada West in the first meet of 2019

By in Sports & Health

The Huskies track and field squad hosted some of their Western rivals in the Saskatoon Field House on Jan. 11 and 12 in their first event of 2019. With championships on the horizon, this event is critical for placements and getting a chance at both conference and national titles.

For the women’s squad, these championships mean defending the conference title they won last season. With conference finals taking place in February, there is little time left for the Huskies to prepare for the biggest competition of the year.

University of Saskatchewan Huskies long-distance runner Courtney Hufsmith competes in the Senior Women 3000m race during the Sled Dog Open in the Saskatoon Field House on Jan. 11. Heywood Yu.

Going into the weekend, Jason Reindl, head coach for both the men’s and women’s teams, notes the fierce competition they faced.

“We’ve got [the universities of] Calgary, Alberta and Regina here this weekend as our main competitors across the majority of events,” Reindl said. “Canada West is always extremely strong as a conference within the country, so we know we’re going to get some top-notch competition from a number of athletes and teams that are here this weekend.”

Despite the tough competition from within their conference, the Huskies achieved a hefty amount of success on the weekend. In terms of hardware, the Dogs left the weekend with a total of 22 medals, nine of which were first-place finishes.

The women’s squad lived up to last season’s Canada West champion title — taking six of the gold medals for themselves. The men’s team put up a solid showing as well with three golds of their own.

Julieanne Labach had a standout performance as she secured gold in both the 600- and 1000- metre races — the two distances she medaled in during last year’s national championship. These medals earned her the title of female athlete of the meet — a solid start to the season, defending her title as reigning Canada West Outstanding Track Performer of the Year.

Julianne Labach leads a pack of competitors during the Sled Dog Open at the Saskatoon Field House Senior Women’s 1000m race on Jan. 11. Riley Deacon / Photo Editor.

On the men’s side of the meet, Brennan Degenhardt’s 15.72-metre shot put both secured him the gold at the meet and placed him second nationally as well as eighth in Huskies history.

An event where both halves of the Huskies squad saw success was the 4×400-metre relay as both teams came away with gold-medal times.

The next meet for the Huskies will be the Golden Bear Open held in Edmonton on Jan. 18 and 19.

Jack Thompson / Sports & Health Editor

Photos: Heywood Yu, Riley Deacon / Photo Editor

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