Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Aug 26 2015, Page 28

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - August 26, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE D4 D 4 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2015 SPORTS winnipegfreepress. com The Winnipeg Free Press is proud to present your guide to everything Blue Bombers. Watch for a new collectible pullout running on the day of every home game this season. Only in your Winnipeg Free Press. NEXT GAME: AUGUST 29 5: 00 P. M. AT INVESTORS GROUP FIELD vs. B EIJING — Canadian decathlon star Damian Warner compares track and field’s multievents to golf — when you hit a bad shot, shrug it off and move on. Brianne Theisen- Eaton says it’s not that easy. The 26- year- old from Humboldt, Sask., won her second consecutive world silver medal in the heptathlon on the opening weekend of the world track and field championships. But after what amounted to a triple bogey in high jump derailed her confidence, it felt more like she’d let gold slip away. “ Imagine if it was the biggest golf tournament you’d ever played in,” she said. “ How do you put it out of your mind? It’s just so hard. Like: ‘ It doesn’t matter. It’s fine.’ No it’s not fine. “ That’s the mental part that I struggle with, telling myself it’s fine, get over it. I have to figure that out.” She arrived in Beijing ranked No. 1 the world. She still is — her score from May’s Hypo- Meeting in Austria was 139 points better than Jessica Ennis- Hill’s winning score here. Theisen- Eaton is putting the performance out of her mind for now, to look ahead to husband Ashton Eaton’s decathlon, which starts Friday. The multi- events power couple spent a couple of hours Tuesday morning at Beijing’s famous Silk Street market, having two suits custom- made for Ashton. “ He can never find suits to fit him,” Theisen- Eaton said. He can never wear pants without a belt, she added, an age- old problem for athletes with tiny waists and muscular thighs. The couple will head to Japan for a week’s holiday, then Theisen- Eaton will turn her attention to the problems that plagued her here, and making sure she learns from them for Rio. She’d been so solid through the last couple of seasons, her coach, Harry Marra, calls her the “ Consistency Queen.” She’d perhaps never felt so much pressure. And she’d never been in the position of having to claw her way back — she was fifth after the high jump. “ I over- analyzed a million things and nitpicked at everything and that just threw everything off,” she said. “ Everything unravelled and I couldn’t get any sort of rhythm whatsoever. And then everything just made everything worse.” She couldn’t clear 1.83 metres in high jump — a height she regularly jumps in practice. “ I didn’t even feel like crying, I was like ‘ What is there to cry about? You sucked,’ ” she said. “ When I look back now — and this is what Ashton told me after the high jump — I never should have been so defeated. I could have had two phenomenal events and I would have been back in the gold- medal position. “ Sometimes it’s hard to understand the bigger picture.” There were stories in the press leading up to the worlds about a double- gold performance for the Eatons. Theisen- Eaton couldn’t help but think: how cool would that be? “ I know that Ashton’s won his gold medals and I know that he’s competent and he knows what to do, and I feel like I’m the rookie and it’s on me to make that happen,” said Theisen- Eaton, whose American husband is the Olympic champion and world record- holder in the decathlon. “ I said to him ‘ I’m sorry I screwed up and that didn’t happen.’ He said ‘ Brianne, I don’t care, that’s the last thing I care about.’ That’s another want. That would be so cool to say we both won gold medals.” Marra, meanwhile, was much easier on Theisen- Eaton than she was on herself. She was almost unable to finish the event after straining her groin before the javelin. “ She did a great job. Second in the world. Second best in the world at what you do,” the coach said. “ The beauty of the multi- events is the kids that rise to the top are street fighters, they keep coming back and coming back.” Perhaps next year in Rio, she said. One thing she takes comfort in is knowing Ashton faced a similar situation at the 2011 world championships in Daegu, South Korea. He was the favourite. The pressure wore on him, and he wound up with silver behind U. S. teammate Trey Hardee. “ He always says ‘ The only reason I won the gold medal in London ( 2012 Olympics) is because I had that experience in Daegu,’ ” Theisen- Eaton said. Warner, Eaton and Hardee will all battle for decathlon medals here. Warner’s Canadian- record performance at the Pan Am Games rank him No. 2 behind Hardee. Eaton has been hampered by an injury and hasn’t done a decathlon yet this season. — The Canadian Press BEIJING — Four medals into what could be Canada’s most successful world track and field championships in history, Brendon Rodney said there’s a new attitude among the team. The 23- year- old from Brampton, Ont., advanced to the semifinal of the men’s 200 metres Tuesday, and afterward talked about Canada’s quest to be the best. “ I think us young guys all have the same mentality, me, Aaron ( Brown), Andre ( De Grasse)… all the young guys, up and coming,” Rodney said. “ We’re all trying to be the best in the world, to go out there and compete. “ We’re not really riding a wave here. It was our mentality already.” Rodney ran a personal- best 20.18 seconds to finish second in his heat, automatically moving on to today’s semis that will be without Canada’s 20- year- old sprint sensation Andre De Grasse. De Grasse raced to a stunning 100- metre bronze medal Sunday night, and could have contended for a second medal in the 200 metres — the 19.88 he ran at last month’s Pan American Games ranks him No. 3 in the world behind American Justin Gatlin and Jamaica’s Rasheed Dwyer. Coming off a busy season that saw him run three events at both the NCAA championships and the Pan Ams, the 20- year- old had never planned on running the 200 here. His medal was one of four Canada captured two days into the world championships. Shawn Barber won gold in the pole vault, Brianne Theisen- Eaton claimed silver in the heptathlon and Ben Thorne was third in the 20- km race walk. Among Canada’s medal hopes with five days to go: Damian Warner in the decathlon, high jumper Derek Drouin, Christabel Nettey in the long jump and the men’s 4x100- metre relay. Brown, a semifinalist in the 100 in Beijing, was fourth in his 200 heat Monday in 20.43 and didn’t move on. The Toronto native complained of a flu bug that he’d been hit with the previous night. “ I’m a little under the weather,” he said. “ I tried to get as much energy as I could, but I just didn’t have it today. I did my best, but came up short.” Brown, the previous national record- holder in the 200 before De Grasse broke it twice this season, said he should be fine by Saturday’s 4x100 relay. “ I’m just going to rest up, take some medicine, sleep,” Brown said. Edmonton’s Carline Muir, on the mend from a stress fracture in her knee that derailed most of her season, didn’t advance out of her semifinal in the women’s 400 metres, finishing eighth in 52.31. “ I couldn’t do anything until March when we went on our training camp to St. Kitts, that’s when I actually started jogging on the track,” Muir said. “ So overall, I think my season was OK. I can take that for sure.” Muir’s career was full of promise in 2008 in Beijing, when she made the semifinal of the women’s 400, as the youngest member of Canada’s team. But she’s had a rocky few years of coaching changes and injuries and spent some time away from the sport. She said the Rio Games are a “ huge” target, and looks forward to going in healthy. “ I’m definitely looking toward the final and having a full season this time, and not starting my season four months before I actually have to come to a major championship,” she said. — The Canadian Press WITH another pre- season test looming this week, Bisons women’s soccer coach Vanessa Martinez Lagunas has another chance to take stock of her team. So far, she’s pleased with what she’s seen. The squad is 2- 2 in exhibition action after competing against conference rivals at the Great Plains Challenge tournament in Regina last week. They’ll polish up their game Friday night, when they host the University of Minnesota- Crookston. After that, they’ll get ready for their home opener Sept. 4. The Bisons are hungry to improve on their 4- 4- 4 record from last season, where they finished 10th out of 16 teams in Canada West. That was a steady improvement from Lagunas’ first year at the helm in 2013, when they went 1- 7- 4. It’s a work in progress — which is exactly what the Bisons had in mind, when they brought Lagunas on board in 2013. “ I think we have made big strides,” the coach said Tuesday. “ The first thing I really wanted to improve was to make this program a full- year program, and not only a program based on a competitive season... that was the first change I made. The girls are training probably 10 months of the year.” In service to that year- round vision, the Bison women weren’t idle during the long CIS off- season. Last February, Lagunas led the squad to Texas, where they battled four different teams, including Lagunas’s alma mater at the University of Texas. The Longhorns won — they are an NCAA Division 1 club — but at 3- 1, it wasn’t a blowout, and the Texans only scored on set pieces. On the same trip, the Bisons also faced another of Lagunas’s former teams, the Mexican university champions, whom they battled to a 0- 0 tie... though the Bisons did pot a goal that was waved off on an offside call. Now, the coach is eager to see how the lessons from that trip will show up in Canada West play. “ I think they grew up so much in that,” Lagunas said. “ They gained confidence. They saw that we can be competitive with any division, and even with a national champion in Mexico. So that’s something we’re now offering to our players.” . . . As it turns out, Bisons athletes are flexing their brain power as much as their muscles, collecting a record- tying number of academic honours. In total, 102 University of Manitoba student- athletes were awarded CIS Academic All- Canadian status after the 2014- 15 season, for maintaining a minimum 80 per cent average. That’s a full third of the school’s total number of student- athletes, and ties a record set in 2011- 12. The honourees, who were announced Tuesday, include four Bisons who have earned the recognition in all five of their varsity years: basketball player Robyn Eyer, football’s Lauren Kroeker, men’s cross- country and track athlete Eric Thacher and women’s track athlete Sarah Huebert. For some, the honour was especially sweet. Soccer forward Bruna Mavignier, who is originally from Brazil, reached that academic mark even while working on her English skills. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Brittany Mac- Sween struggled in her first season at the U of M, and landed on academic probation for low grades. But she was able to work her way back up, and was named a CIS Academic All- Canadian for her scholarly achievements last season. “ I realized I had to pick up my socks, so to speak,” MacSween said. “ It was tough, especially with our schedule and travelling all the time. It was very demanding, but very worth it.” melissa. martin@ freepress. mb. ca By Melissa Martin ‘ I think we have made big strides’ Steady improvement name of the game for Bison women’s soccer team Brendon Rodney By Lori Ewing New attitude has Canadians believing they can beat the best ‘ Consistency Queen’ looks for answers Canada’s Theisen- Eaton vexed by high- jump failure that cost heptathlon gold By Lori Ewing LEE JIN- MAN / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILES Brianne Theisen- Eaton had high hopes of taking home heptathlon gold, but had to settle for silver. D_ 04_ Aug- 26- 15_ FP_ 01. indd D4 8/ 25/ 15 10: 23: 43 PM

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