The Journal Athletes of the Week

Jan Stirling
Women’s Track

Jan Stirling made a statement in her first CIS competition last weekend, winning three gold medals.

The first-year engineering student from Wolfville, N.S. ran exceptional times in the 300 metres, the 4x200-metre relay, and the 4x400-metre relay at the team’s first meet at McGill. In the 300 metres, Stirling ran the fourth-fastest time, and the three people still ahead of her are all hall of fame inductees.

She said she is excited about her university athletics career so far.

“It’s really good,” she said. “The team’s a lot bigger than in high school, and there’s a lot more support.”

In addition to starring at Horton High School, Stirling competed for Team Nova Scotia at the Canada Summer Games earlier this year. She said it was a valuable experience for her, even though she had a different role on that team.

“I did different events there, but I guess competing-wise it helped because it gave me more experience,” she said.

Stirling said she has settled into her events at Queen’s, and is living in the moment rather than thinking about season goals.

“I’m not sure, I haven’t really thought about [goals],” she said. “With school and everything, it’s been really hectic. But [the 300 metres, 4x200 metres and 4x400 metres] will probably be my events.”

Stirling also said the Gaels coaching staff have been helpful and encouraging to her and to the other young athletes on the team.

“They’ve been really good, and really enthusiastic about all the new athletes,” she said.

Stirling and her teammates will return to the track Jan. 14.

Neal Dawson
Men’s Basketball

Neal Dawson stood tall in a pair of weekend losses to powerhouse teams.

The 6’10”, 205-pound centre from Orleans, Ont. posted 11 points in both games this past weekend, adding nine rebounds against the Ottawa Gee-Gees. He accounted for a quarter of the team’s scoring against Carleton on Friday, and nearly did the same Saturday when Queen’s managed 47 points.

“We’ve completely revamped the program,” he said of the Gael squad. “We have a new offence, a new coach, and new players. We match up very well against most teams, but it really depends on which offence shows up.”

The fourth-year biochemistry student said he has taken on a leadership role this year.

“I have a lot more of a veteran’s role,” he said. “Some of the guys ask me questions that I asked when I was a rookie.” Dawson added that the team’s high hopes are synonymous with his individual goals for the season.

“Our offence is based a lot more on teamwork, so my goal is to help the team get better,” he said. “I want to finish above .500 this year. In previous years, we’ve had some lapses we shouldn’t have that cost us a .500 record. I’d also like to win some playoff games. Our ultimate goal is to make the national championships in Halifax.”

Dawson said the team is still working out head coach Rob Smart’s new strategies, but that his transition from assistant coach last year has otherwise been smooth.

“It really wasn’t very difficult,” he said. “We all knew exactly what kind of coach he was.”

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