Campus Life

Steacy on record run

If you didn't hear Heather Steacy's name last year, it wasn't because the Pronghorns track and field star suddenly fell back to the pack and wasn't the dominating force we've learned to expect. Instead, Steacy was just bolstering herself for a record assault that is now in full bloom.

The two-time CIS gold medal champion in weight throw (indoor) stepped away from the CIS stage last year, focusing instead on training for the hammer throw and the summer outdoor season. While it took her out of competition for nearly a full calendar year, Steacy has returned to the indoor scene with a vengeance. At the Feb. 5 Bison Classic at the University of Manitoba, Steacy became the first woman in CIS history to break the 20-metre barrier, doing so twice as she easily won the gold medal.

"Technically, I'm a lot more consistent now," says the 22-year-old Steacy. "I felt before that I was always disappointed with the distances. I wasn't disappointed with the end result and the wins, but nothing ever felt consistent with how I was throwing. Now I feel like I'm in a much better place. It really comes with experience, repetition and knowing your body and how it moves."

That consistency is evident in her results. Two weeks before the Bison Classic, Steacy set a new personal best mark with a throw of 19.24 metres at the Golden Bear Classic. In Winnipeg she bettered that mark on all four of her qualifying throws and topped the 20-metre barrier with throws of 20.16m and 20.28m (a new Alberta provincial record). To put her dominance into context, the silver-medal winning throw was 13.99m.

"It was hard to step away last season because I knew I wouldn't be competing for almost an entire year," says Steacy. "From summer of 2009 until last summer, was a long time between competitions. In terms of training, it made so much sense. With hammer throw you need loads of volume, thousands of throws to get anything set, so it was definitely worth it."

The ultimate goal for the music major is to take her hammer throw prowess to the Olympic stage. Still a youngster for her sport, she is right on track for an Olympic appearance.

"I'm hoping to go to London in 2012, but I'm more looking forward to competing at the Rio Olympics in 2016," she says. "I would really like to go to London to get that experience under my belt and get a chance to see what it's like so I can know what to expect if I get to go to Rio."

In the meantime, she's branching out academically at the U of L, taking a variety of language classes to enhance her musical skills. She feels the knowledge of language will come in handy as she continues to take her talents to meets around the world. This spring, after competing at the Canada West and CIS championship meets, she'll represent Canada at the World University Games in Shenzhen, China. In August, she hopes to be throwing hammer at the World Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea.

The Canada West Track Championships are Feb. 25-26 in Winnipeg.

For a look at the February issue of the Legend in a flipbook format, follow this link.