Zelinka gets national nod

By Sean Nyilassy

The University of Calgary’s own Jessica Zelinka was named Canadian Interuniversity Sport Track and Field Female Athlete of the Year last week. To prove she was worthy of such an honour, she led the Dinos to a second place finish at the CIS Track and Field Championships Mar. 11-13 earning herself the prestigious Female Athlete of the Meet award in the process.

As she wraps up her third year as a post-secondary student she celebrates the end of her second year as a Dino. She will hopefully continue competing for the U of C over the next two years.

"She can destroy most of Canada West and CIS records," forecasted her coach Les Gramantik when asked what the next two years may bring.

A stellar season this year saw her head to the Canada West championships ranked number one in the 60m dash, 60m hurdles and in her specialty, the pentathlon. Though she only competed in the pentathlon at CWs, she won handily, excelling in all five events. Unfortunately, she also sustained a concussion during the high jump portion of the competition and was unable to train for the two weeks preceding nationals.

Despite this major drawback she still received four medals at the competition: golds in the 60m hurdles and pentathlon, silver for the 60m dash and bronze in the long jump.

She also set a new CIS record for her stupendous score in the pentathlon.

"It’s a good challenge, the sky is the limit," said Gramantik of being her coach. "You have to be careful how much you squeeze out of someone with that much potential."

Zelinka has made important contributions to the track program over the past two years. Her results have contributed to team scores, allowing the Dinos women’s team to be ranked second in the country. Her athletic prowess has set an exceptional standard for her teammates .

Zelinka hopes to slowly work her way up to international competitive levels from her current status, and her coach definitely believes in her.

"She’s an extremely talented young woman with the ability to be the best not only in university competition, but nationally and possibly more internationally," stated Gramantik.

Zelinka was out of town and was unfortunately unavailable for comment.

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