By: Kirk Jessome
With one of the most historic winning streaks in the history of collegiate sports on the line, the Tigers women’s track and field team have their eyes on winning their 30th consecutive conference title this season.
The Tigers have brought back a strong roster of talent in every event group. Led by Michelle Reddy who is returning for her fifth season after a strong performance as the Tigers top finisher in the cross country season, she finished in the top-12 in the country last season in the 1000m, and took home gold medals in the 600m, and 1500m at the AUS championship.
Moving into her third season with the Tigers, Maya Reynolds has been the fastest 60m hurdler in the AUS conference for the past three seasons, as well as putting together top-10 times in the country in the 60m sprint. The Tigers have also added first year Taylor Mattinson to the roster this season, adding some depth in the 60m and in the 4x200m relay.
In the distance events, Savanna Jordan is coming off of a phenomenal rookie season where she earned the U SPORTS rookie of the year award in the cross country season, and followed that up with an eighth-place finish in the 3000m at the national championship in the indoor season.
Also entering her second season after a very impressive rookie campaign is Lorena Heubach. She was the top finisher for the Tigers at the U SPORTS championship placing fifth in the heptathlon. She followed up that performance with another fifth-place finish at the national championships this past summer. Heubach is ready to push for a medal performance this season.
The Tigers finished 18th at the national championship, but with the continued development of these returning athletes, the Tigers will look to continue making history, and translate that to the national stage.
For the Tigers men’s team, the Tigers are looking to improve on their best national ranking in recent years, finishing in ninth-place at the U SPORTS championship.
The team is led by the dynamic duo of fourth-year sprinters Matthew Coolen and Mike Van Der Poel.
The Tigers claimed their first national gold medal in the 60m in program history last season, as Matthew Coolen ran his way to history as the fastest student-athlete in Canada with a 6.84s dash. Coolen also just missed out on a second medal at nationals in the 60m hurdles by just one hundredth of a second.
Looking to reclaim a spot on the national podium this season, Van Der Poel held a top-three rank in the 300m throughout the entirety of the 2018 season before heading into the national championship. Van Der Poel missed out on back to back medals, but a strong outdoor season has him primed to repeat again.
Coming off of a strong rookie season, Hudson Grimshaw-Surette was impressive for the Tigers at the national championship with a seventh-place finish in the 1000m against a tough field. Also entering his second season, shot putter Andre Hendricks broke onto the national scene with a 10th place finish after fighting injuries leading up to the championship.
With the return of Josh Lunda, the Tigers 4x200m relay will be a force this season, with three runners already well under 22 seconds, and that same group under seven seconds in the 60m.
Another year of growth of some young talent on the roster, the Tigers are in the hunt for not only another conference championship, but a top-five national finish as a team.
Both teams will get their season started this weekend at the Athletics Nova Scotia Last Chance Meet hosted at the Canada Games Centre on Saturday.