The future of track and field at this university looks very bright. Instead of dwelling negatively on the team results after the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union championships in Montreal last weekend, coach Les Gramantik and his determined followers can now look to the future with a positive outlook.
McGill University was the site for some 30 Canadian track and field programs to display their talents and compete for a national title. As expected, the University of Calgary gave a solid performance in team competition and showed prosperity in individual results, finishing seventh among men and tenth among women. While these results came as no surprise to coach Gramantik, his optimism is hard to contain.
"The teams like Sherbrooke and Windsor were expected to win as predicted because track and field is very straight forward measurably," he said.
"I’m not saying that top 10 is a goal, we should be aiming for a lot more. Eventually we won’t have to rely on successful individual performances, but have overall many more athletes being competitive."
One could say that the track and field program here is like many other programs throughout the CIAU, in that it is in a rebuilding phase. Despite losing some key faces on both the men’s and women’s teams, most notably Jodi Friesen, both programs are looking at some young athletes that gave quality performances during last weekends events. Both Trevor Phillips and Darren Clarke are first-year team members who placed first and second in their respective events. Once again coach Gramantik speaks eagerly of these future prospects.
"If you look at the bright side, these guys could be world beaters in four years. This team is quite young which looks good for the future."
In addition to the standout performances last weekend, some athletes were able to beat their personal best times in their particular events.
Despite positive attitudes about next season, both coaches and athletes are aware of the work involved to propel this university’s track and field program.
Improvement in the relays is only one of the aspects that needs building on. Ultimately the track team is not going to get bigger in size over the next few years, but is going to have to be more consistent in order to place higher in regional and national events. For the time being, the track and field season is completed with most of the athletes returning to their clubs for off-season preparation.