On Friday at the McGill Team Challenge, Jude Wheeler-Dee broke a 35-year-old Queen’s Track and Field 1,000-metre record with a time of 2:22:15. The previous record was set by Dave Mather in 1987 with a time of 2:24:03.
Jude Wheeler-Dee also won the 1,500-metre event on Friday night with a time of 3:46:84. He is now the third fastest Gael to ever race that event. He’s currently at the top of the USPORTS 1,000m ranking, and is in fifth for the 1,500m.
During the Ottawa Capital Cross Country Challenge last fall, Wheeler-Dee also found success, coming in second place overall and finishing first among the Gaels.
“All of a sudden, some of our guys who normally don’t get as much of the limelight are now our first guys. A good example for that, if we go back to our Ottawa race, is Jude Wheeler-Dee,” Head Coach Mark Bomba said in an interview with The Journal.
Bomba also coaches the cross country team and has nearly 30 years of elite endurance coaching experience at the club, university, and international levels. He believes successful results from his athletes are a product of the environment created by the team.
“Before I came here, I was a teacher. One of the things we’re told is that the best educational environment is when students, or in this case athletes, are willing to take risks,” Bomba said.
“Whether it’s in our training, or in our mental health, or in our nutrition, those are things we try and make that you can turn to one of [the coaches about] to try, and get people to feel as comfortable as possible in those open, risk-free environments.”
With newfound confidence, Wheeler-Dee has proved he’s an athlete capable of peak performance. His time for the 1,000 metre is currently the fastest time in the nation, which has secured him a spot at the U SPORTS National Track and Field Championships in March.
Meanwhile, Gael and U SPORTS Cross Country Rookie of the Year Elizabeth Vroom placed third at McGill in the 1,500m with a time of 4:35.18, the seventh fastest in Queen’s history.
The rest of the Gaels also had a good start to their season with many of them placing at the Ottawa Winter Classic on Jan. 20 and 21. Maddy Bullock placed first in the 600m, and Wheeler-Dee placed first in the 1,000m and 1,500m. Caleigh Pribaz, Vroom, and Miles Brackenbury placed second in their events as well.
The team will head to Boston, Massachusetts for the Boston Valentine Classic on Feb. 10 and 11. Later in the month, the Gaels will also compete in the Ottawa/Carleton Last Chance meet before heading to the OUA Championship in Windsor.
cross country, Jude Wheeler-Dee, record break, Track and field
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