Jumping for Joy

She jumps, she leaps, she soars! /Arthur Ward

She jumps, she leaps, she soars! /Arthur Ward

Cougars athlete Joy Becker is at it again

Article: Paige Kreutzwieser – Contributor

For students, summertime is when you get to relax, spend time outside, travel, and best of all – no homework. But for some Cougar athletes, summer doesn’t mean you get a break.

U of R track athlete Joy Becker’s “vacation” was full of training and a full time job. Being from Manitoba, that meant she barely even got to go home to visit her family, but, it wasn’t all that awful.

Becker travelled with Cougars track and field coach Bruce McCannel and her parents to compete in her last year of Junior Canadian Track and Field Championships. Going into the competition, Becker likely had a target on her back.

“I was expecting so much out of it,” Becker said. “I knew I was a top jumper and I was capable of winning and doing good there.”

And, she did do well.

Becker placed second overall in the long jump finals.

She added that due to the outdoor elements she wasn’t even jumping her best.

Becker also travelled to Muncton to compete in the Canadian Senior Track and Field Championships. There she was competing against athletes well older than her, where she ended up placing sixth with a 5.80 metre jump.

Becker admits that although she faulted a couple of times, she had very good jumps at Seniors – saying some of her jumps were possibly 6 metres.

But, being the humble person she is, she stated that they don’t count.

“I still think I’m a 5.80 jumper, and that’s what I keep in my mind,” she said.

Her personal best sits at 5.95 metres, which she set while still living in Manitoba. So, one of her main goals for her upcoming sophomore Cougar season is to successfully jump 6 metres.

That would also cross off another one of her targets – setting a Cougars record. Currently, the record is 5.96m, a number that her personal best is only one cm off of.

But, what Becker is most looking forward to this season is having another chance to represent the U of R in CIS.

Her checklist for the year also includes a trip to the Canada West championships, and being ranked as high as she currently is, which it may not be that hard of a feat to reach.

McCannel sees her potential and believes she is capable of reaching the 6 metres goal.

“He’s super excited [for me],” Becker said. “I had such a successful summer he just really wants it to carry on into the indoor season.”

Her humble nature once again comes out when asked how she feels about her success and high ranking.

“I really don’t try to expect things as much,” she said. “I just go train hard and hope for the best now.”

Becker’s notable off-season has left her with high hopes but that doesn’t mean the pressure isn’t apparent.

She calls them “The Rachels”. Rachel Machin and Rachel McIntosh from the University of Calgary, two are strong and competitive athletes. But, Becker doesn’t lack the confidence she needs to battle against them.

“I’m nervous but also excited because they make me better,” she said proudly.

At this point, injuries are not an issue for Becker, which means she is also looking to try and focus on other events as well. And with the support of her coach, teammates, and family she feels this indoor season is her thing.

“I am happy about my senior performance, jumping against older girls and being young,” she added. “I know I’m a pretty good jumper, but I know I can be better.”

Her plans to be better include changing her eating and sleeping habits, heavier weights and avoiding injuries so she can obtain a standard where she can be carded.

No longer a rookie, Becker has truly made a name for herself heading into this new season.

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