Track and field teams look to sprint past records

The Tommies track and field season is starting up for both the men’s and women’s teams this Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Gagetown Invitational.

Alex Coffin, the head coach for both teams, said this year, he believes some St. Thomas University records will be broken by two rookies, Ryan Terry and Chelsea Hall.

“We’re expecting those two rookies to break at least four records this year between the two of them, so that’s very exciting,” said Coffin.

More than 15 rookies joined the team this year, and Coffin said he would love to see some of them finish in the top eight of the Atlantic University Sport conference.

“The programs at Dalhousie [University], [St. Francis Xavier University] and [the University of New Brunswick] are huge compared to ours,” he said.

“But I think we definitely have at least three athletes who have the ability to be top eight.”

This year, Coffin said, the women’s throwing team has more athletes than it has had ever before, which should provide plenty of depth.

With six rookies joining the team, Coffin said, STU has the largest throwing team in the AUS.

Alex Coffin, head coach of the Tommies men's and women's track and field teams. Photo: STU Athletics/Submitted
Alex Coffin, head coach of the Tommies men’s and women’s track and field teams. Photo: STU Athletics/Submitted

Coffin said he is fortunate to have two particular veteran players, Stephanie Gates and Anisha Romany, back this year. He said they’ve been athlete coaches and work hard to inspire the team.

After last season, the track and field team lost graduating runner Paul Nozicka and Jonathan Gionet, who broke the provincial record for shot put and took home an AUS silver medal.

Gionet is now playing for UNB.

Coffin said the team is making a special effort to train for the triple jump event this season, which the athletes haven’t done as much in the past.

“That’s a bit of a specialty event, and I really think since we’re focusing on it, we may get some top eight performances there too,” said Coffin.

Connor Coelho is a rookie to the STU track and field team, but he isn’t new to the sport. His specialty is the triple jump event.

Coelho used to do track and field, but took a break to focus on high-level hockey. After suffering an injury, he was forced to stop playing hockey.

“I was running with Ryan Terry at the start of the year just to keep in shape, and he said I should try out for the STU track team, so I tried out,” he said.

Coelho agreed with his coach, saying his team should do well this year and be able to compete with anyone in the AUS.

Following the Gagetown meet Saturday at 12 p.m., the Tommies will participate in the Universite de Moncton Invitational on Dec. 17 at noon.

Another open event at UdeM is set for Jan. 14 at 12 p.m., while the AUS relays go Feb. 10 and 11.

STU will compete in the McGill Team Challenge on Feb. 17 and the AUS Championships on Feb. 25.

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