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U of R running standout Kelly Wiebe prepares for a future on the track

Ed Kapp
Sports Writer

Heading into his previous CIS campaigns, Kelly Wiebe, a three-time Canada West gold-medalist for the University of Regina Cougars, set his sights pretty high.

But after enduring a “conglomeration” of leg injuries and being forced to redshirt for the 2011-12 track and field campaign, Wiebe admittedly had more modest aspirations at the onset of this season.

“I mainly wanted to stay healthy, increase my base, and get ready for the outdoor season and really set myself up well for the upcoming cross-country season.” explained Wiebe, 22, who doubles as a member of the U of R’s cross-country squad.

Although Wiebe admitted he once thought his series of leg injuries was “the worst thing ever,” in retrospect, the Swift Current product views his experience as a positive one.

“As I look back on it, it was probably a blessing in disguise, because we have a really, really good team for cross-country next year and I really set myself up well for the outdoor season,” Wiebe said.

According to Wiebe, several of his peers at the U of R have also had changes of heart regarding his recent run-in with the injury bug.

“A lot of guys were really upset at the time, because the team relies on each runner and whenever you lose a runner, then that has a big impact on the team,” Wiebe said. “When they look back on it, they’re happy, because we have a good setup this year.”

Wiebe insisted he was back to 100 per cent earlier in the year. As evidenced by his two most recent outings – victories that would’ve gone down as U of R records, had he not been redshirting – Wiebe is healthy and once again back to his winning ways.

When Wiebe begins the upcoming cross-country campaign, he emphasized that he will be back to setting his goals high for himself and his squad.

“I have really high expectations,” Wiebe admitted. “I think this is the most talented group of athletes that we’ve had – ever … I think hands down, [we’ll win] CanWest and on a good day, maybe even win CIS – that’s what I think.”

If all goes according to Wiebe’s plans, 2012 won’t be his final year of either running or setting major goals as an athlete.

“A team in Guelph has contacted me about running professionally, so I’m going to try that out for a few years and see where that takes me,” said Wiebe, who intends on making a strong push to represent Canada at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. “I truly believe I can – and if not this year – make the Olympics in 2016, so that’s what I’m going to be shooting for.”

Not surprisingly, Wiebe – who began running competitively in high school – insisted representing Canada at the Olympic Games would be a dream come true.

“That’s my ultimate goal,” Wiebe said with a laugh. “That’s something that I’ve dreamt about almost every day up to this point. If I made the Olympics, it would be the most special moment ever.”

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