A former Eaton School Spartan who spent much of his time on the football field in Eatonia, Saskatchewan is going to be representing his hometown and his school in heptathlon at track and field nationals in March.
20-year-old University of Saskatchewan student Brendan Ritchie will be joining his Huskies teammates in Winnipeg next weekend at the 2019 U SPORTS Track & Field Championships.
Now in his third year studying physiology and pharmacology at the U of S, he qualified for the competition after placing third at the Canada West Championships last weekend in Edmonton, scoring 4398 points in the men's heptathlon event. Both the men and women's Huskies track and field squads sweeped the competition at westerns, placing first in school standings.
Men's heptathlon is a contest that combines seven track and field events into one (60-metre sprint, long jump, high jump, shot put, pole vault, 60-metre hurdles and 1000-metre long distance). Competitors collect points based on how they do in each event; the athlete with the most combined points wins gold or first place.
Ritchie, who is now back in Saskatoon following his bronze medal finish at the western championships, recounts the moment he found out he had earned a spot to compete against the best in the nation.
This will be Ritchie's first appearance at nationals in his second year with Huskies athletics, a remarkable accomplishment for a young man who learned a lot about the events he competes in while training at the university.
Football and track were Brendan's passions when he attended Eaton School during his teenage years. He even managed to win both Offensive Football MVP and Track and Field MVP back in 2016.
Once he moved on from high school to post-secondary, he wanted to continue with track and field at the collegiate level. He tells more about the obstacles he needed to fight through over the last couple years to hone his skills and push himself to his biggest feat yet.
With a bronze medal in his possession from the weekend, Ritchie is now back to the books at school while prepping himself for nationals March 7th to 9th.
When it comes to a track and field event as strenuous as heptathlon, he's making sure to get in a good balance of rest and recovery over the next several days before he travels by bus to Winnipeg. He'll be heading out on Tuesday to the University of Manitoba before he gets in more practice and training time ahead of the championships.
Brendan mentioned since this is his first time on the national stage, he won't necessarily be expecting to finish with a medal around his neck, but he will be taking in every moment to try and learn from the experience so he will be even more prepared for next season.
He says he couldn't have made it this far without his support group.
The U SPORTS Track & Field Championships will take place at the James Daly Fieldhouse in Max Bell Centre on the University of Manitoba campus.