© Herald Photo by Perry Bergson
Prince Albert's Katelyn Lehner, seen competing in a hurdles event last summer, was home for the holidays after completing her first semester at the University of Calgary. Lehner, who is coming off a banner year that saw her compete at the Nike Grand Prix in Toronto, Canada Summer Games in Quebec and Pan Am junior championships in Columbia, in addition to the provincial high school track and field championships, begins a busy indoor season in January as she gears up for her first appearance at a world junior event this summer.
What does Katelyn Lehner do for an encore?
The track and field phenom is turning the page on her most successful year in athletics, but the 18-year-old isn’t resting on her laurels.
The St. Mary grad, who is home for the holidays, has just completed her first semester of kinesiology studies at the University of Calgary while also training with the Dino track team in preparation for a busy stretch of indoor competitions.
“The workload is definitely a lot bigger,” laughs Lehner when explaining the transition from high school to university. “We’re in the weight room more often and it was a lot to take for the first little bit.”
Lehner’s accomplishments in 2013 were astounding!
She helped the St. Mary Track club capture the Nike Grand Prix championship in Toronto in May; she ran and jumped to five gold medals in each of the city, district and provincial high school track and field championships while helping St. Mary win the overall title in the 4A division; she represented Saskatchewan at the Canada Summer Games and she made her first international appearance when she wore Team Canada colours at the Pan Am junior championships in Columbia.
“It was such a good experience,” says Lehner of her trip to South America. “It was cool to compete and be at that calibre.”
“It was a good experience to be at a bigger competition like that,” added Lehner, who finished sixth out of eight competitors and had personal-best results in four of the seven events in her heptathlon performance.
Since returning from Columbia in mid-August, Lehner has been busy with her studies while also getting ready for the upcoming indoor season, which will have meets in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg in the first month after school resumes in early January.
Lehner participated in a small Dino meet just before the Christmas break and now that she has had time to be home with family and friends - and sing the national anthem at a Prince Albert Raider game - she is anxious to get back to work.
“I feel like I’m rested,” says Lehner, who didn’t go to a gym at all for the first week or so that she was home. “I’ve let my body recoup while I’ve been home.”
“It’s fun – I like doing it,” adds Lehner, who will compete in the pentathlon during the indoor season (javelin and 200-metre sprint are not on the training program for the winter) before getting back to the heptathlon in the spring when training moves back outdoors. “If I’m not training or studying I get kind of bored.”
She will hardly have time to be bored as Lehner already has some big plans for the summer as she will compete in her first world junior championships in mid-July. She knows there is a lot of work to be done to get ready for that event in addition to her busy winter schedule at school.
“We’ll be training every day,” says Lehner. “I just want to have good training and get (more) personal bests.”
Lehner says while it all sounds rather hectic she does appreciate having been invited to the Dino training camps in Arizona last year as she feels attending those sessions helped ease her into this year.
Already armed with the 2012 Sask. Sport female youth athlete of the year and Prince Albert’s female athlete of the year for that same time frame, Lehner went out and topped her previous accomplishments last year. One can only imagine what the gifted athlete – and student – will do this year.