Daniele Dyck made the sprints at the Brandon high school track and field championships into races for second place on Wednesday.
The Vincent Massey Viking left everyone in her dust in the varsity girls’ 200-metre final, finishing in 25.78 seconds, and cruised effortlessly past the finish line in the 100m in a time of 13.34 seconds at UCT Stadium.
Both marks were enough to break city records, even with a mighty wind blowing straight down the home stretch. She was nearly four seconds ahead of second in the 200m, and 1.15 seconds better than second in the 100m. Her efforts were more than enough to lock up spots at provincials, June 6-8 in Winnipeg, where she has a chance to defend her 100m gold medal from a year ago.
"I just want to race as much as I can," she said. "I’m pretty excited. Every race opportunity is pretty exciting."
Dyck, who finished fourth at the Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships in the 100m in August, 0.05 seconds shy of a medal, is going to have a lot more opportunities to race in the coming years, as she has committed to join the University of Saskatchewan Huskies track and field team for the upcoming U Sports season. The thought of running at the university level was always in the back of her mind, but grew as her passion for the sport did.
"I was always thinking about it as I was running and having a lot of success, like ‘Oh, I could keep doing this,’" Dyck said. "I really started enjoying it last season and thinking I could do it another four or five years. As I got closer with my Prairie Storm team, it got a lot more enjoyable, and I really grew to love running."
"It’s more about personal success in this sport, which I really liked," she added. "As much as I enjoy team sports, it’s more focused on what you can do and how your lifestyle is affecting your progress, as opposed to having a crappy game because some of your teammates are having a crappy game."
The five-foot-five sprinter thought about the University of Alberta, where former Viking Charlot Butler just finished her first year of eligibility, but opted to stay closer to home. Saskatchewan offers both the kinesiology program she was looking for, and a graduate studies program in physiotherapy she’s interested in.
The Huskies women’s track and field team finished second at nationals last season — the program’s best finish since 2005. Saskatchewan head coach Jason Reindl was interested in Dyck’s ability, and thinks she can add value to an already talented squad.
"We saw a ton of potential in her," said Reindl, who earned U Sports coach of the year honours this year. "We know what (Prairie Storm coach) Bryce (Koscielny) has been doing is long-term athlete development, with big goals down the road. We’re excited to see what Daniele can bring in a few years.
"Our women’s team is extremely strong right now, extremely focused. Daniele has a lot of that competitive instinct to push herself to the next level. We’re not happy with just Canada West titles. We want to be the best team in the country, and she fits in with that."
Dyck is ramping up her training this summer, and knows it’s going to get a lot busier when she moves to Saskatoon in the fall. She currently works with Prairie Storm twice a week, and adds a few more workouts in on her own time. It’ll look more like six sessions per week with meets on the weekends. While speed is the most important asset to train, Dyck says it’s not as simple as it looks to be a sprinter.
"Most people from what I’ve gathered think it’s just about running in a straight line. There’s a lot to running in that straight line. There’s start mechanics, there’s different strides, race strategies for different races, and there’s a lot more to think about than one might see," said Dyck, who maintained the exact same stride well past the finish line in the city 100m final, while others appeared to add extra movements to get the final push they needed.
"I just keep the pace as much as I can. I find if you try to push too much at the end instead of relaxing, it doesn’t work quite as well."
Dyck has learned a lot about the sport in a few short years, and is grateful especially to Massey coach Jason Jones and Koscielny for helping her get to the university level, where she will transition to specialize in the 60m and 4x200 relay on the indoor track.
"Coach Jones was the one that really got me into track. He picked me off the rugby field and was like ‘Hey, you should come join.’ I gave it a shot and he gave me my first steps, which I really appreciate," Dyck said. "Koscielny, he’s the one that has really helped me progress and develop and definitely made me a better athlete for that."
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