Journal Athletes of the Week

Celia Peters, Joanna Stanisz, Calla Humphries and Jan Stirling
Women’s Track and Field

Ranked fifth in the country entering the CIS championships in Saskatoon, the women’s 4x400-metre relay team was confident they could make their mark on the national stage. But fifth wasn’t good enough for Jan Stirling, Celia Peters, Calla Humphries and Joanna Stanisz. The team had already run exceptionally well throughout the year, posting the second, third, and fourth best times in school history.

The women did not disappoint. Their combined efforts in the 4x400-metre final were good enough for a silver medal and their time of 3:52.59 was good enough to set a new Queen’s record. The former record time of 3:53.61 was set in 1993.

What is even more remarkable about the relay team’s record-breaking success is that Peters and Stirling are first-year students at Queen’s. Peters is from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, and ran competitively throughout her career at Kings Edgehill High School. Stirling is also from Nova Scotia and began her track career at Horton High school in Wolfville.

“It was really exciting—the race was a combination of all out hard work throughout the year.” Peters said. “It feels great to move up from second at the OUAs to second at the CIS [championships].

“We were really excited,” Stirling said. “It was definitely a surprise, but we are really happy with it.”

Stirling also runs in the 200-metre and 300-metre events, but said that the 400-metre is her specialty. She said she is looking forward to the rest of her career as a Gael.

“My goal is to be able to go back to the CIS [championships] and stay competitive,” she said.

Peters is already second in the Queen’s record books for the 600-metres, and said that her goal is to take first in that department as well.

Both first-year runners said they appreciated the support and guidance of veteran teammates Humphries and Stanisz.

“We really have a great group of girls here to support each other,” Peters said. “We all knew that we could count on each other to pull through.”

Humphries is finishing her fourth year at Queen’s and said she was very excited about the team’s silver-medal performance.

“Our goal was to have a personal-best time,” she said. We were shooting for a medal, but it was unexpected to get the silver.”

Stanisz will be entering her fourth year at Queen’s, and said she is looking forward to another year on the track. She also gave a lot of credit to the team’s two rookie runners.

“They did awesome, they had phenomenal seasons,” she said. “The team dynamics are great—we get along really well. We were able to motivate each other and feed off each other’s energy.

The team members said they owed their success to the guidance of their coaches.

“They believed in us the whole way,” Stanisz said.

After winning what may have been her final medal as a Gael, Humphries added that she felt privileged to be a part of a team that enters the books as the best in Queen’s history.

“For everyone to have a good day is a pretty special thing, and to have three teammates that are so talented is pretty special,” she said.

Braden Novakowski and Bill Woods
Men’s Track and Field

The Queen’s track and field team might more aptly be named the Silver Gaels after a solid performance at the CIS championships last weekend. Braden Novakowski and Bill Woods led the way, earning two of Queen’s three medals.

Novakowski took second place in the 1,500 metres, earning a national podium finish in just his second year on the team.

With 100 metres to go, he was in the lead and looked good win gold, but Cristiano Mauricio of Windsor passed him with 50 metres remaining and he couldn’t regain his advantage. Second place was nonetheless an impressive and satisfying result for the fourth-ranked Novakowski, ArtSci ’08.

“I was hoping to medal, so anything in the top three was the objective,” he said. “Obviously I was hoping to win it, but it was a very competitive field. Oh yes, I was quite pleased.”

He also said the concept of winning gold only crossed his mind briefly during the race.

“I hadn’t really thought of winning until I got to [the 100-metre mark],” he said.

He said the team was largely satisfied with their performance at the meet.

“Friday was a bit of a tougher day,” he said. “You have your good and your bad days, and a couple of people had bad days. On Saturday, people performed largely at or above expectations.”

The win was made sweeter for him by his battles with a back injury this season. He said he feels it’s healed for good now and is looking forward to next season, when he plans to expand his role on the team.

“Next year hopefully I’ll win [the 1,500 metres], and I think I’m going to compete in the 1,000 metres,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll have a 4x800 metre relay team. There are a lot of guys next year who could make the team and have an impact.”

Meanwhile, Woods followed up his OUA silver medal in the triple jump with a CIS medal of the same colour. Prior to the meet, he told the Journal his goal was to finish either first or second. He said he feels good about meeting that goal, but that the result could have been even better.

“I’m not disappointed because coming second isn’t something to be disappointed about. But I’m disappointed in the way I jumped to end my career, but I can deal with that,” he said, alluding to the fact that he doesn’t feel he had his best jump. “Marlon [Nangle], who won gold, only jumped 15.06, and he’s capable of much more, so he sort of opened the door for me, and I didn’t take advantage.”

Nevertheless, Woods said he was thrilled to be standing on the podium to end his five-year career at Queen’s.

Woods echoed Novakowski, saying the team improved on Saturday after some disappointments Friday.

“After the second day, everyone had bounced back, and everyone was pumped after that,” he said. “The women’s 4x400 metre race [which won a silver medal] capped off the whole thing. That was the most exciting moment of the whole meet.”

Woods will now move on from Queen’s, but doesn’t plan to stop competing.

“This summer, I’m base training and jumping at the outdoor senior nationals in Ottawa, so I’m going to be training for that and getting myself a job,” he said.

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