There won’t be any shortage of motivation for members of the Neepawa Tigers high school track and field team to train this winter.
The team was selected by the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association to represent the province in the boys’ part of the Nike High School Grand Prix track meet at the University of Toronto from May 9-12. The school will send 13 boys to compete in the event, and head coach Bryce Koscielny hopes the news will rub off on more than just those lucky athletes.
"It really shows the guys that if you work hard and are committed to something then good things can happen, and hopefully that rubs off on the rest of the team that don’t get to go," he said. "You hope the training and focus can translate to a good high school season outside of the national meet and some provincial success as well."
Winnipeg’s Kelvin High School will send Manitoba’s girls’ team to Toronto.
Koscielny, who won the this year’s Coach to Watch award from Athletics Manitoba, has worked hard to build a solid track program at Neepawa. He saw some good results at this spring’s provincial meet as Jason Doerksen earned a bronze medal in the junior varsity boys’ 100-metre and 200m races, while Wyatt Solomon won a silver medal in the JV boys’ 200m. The school’s JV boys’ won gold in the 4x100m relay and had three top-eight finishes in JV boys’ high jump.
Now that his team will be the Manitoba representatives at nationals, Koscielny has to finalize which events his athletes will compete in.
Koscielny also wants to keep focused on helping every athlete have a good season and hopes the team wins more medals at provincials, but he admits he’s very excited about the opportunity to go to nationals.
"I was pretty speechless at first," he said. "It’s really exciting. I never imagined as a coach of high school athletics that I’d get a chance to represent Manitoba at a national meet and I know the boys are really, really excited about it as well."