What a Nice guy

People tripping over hurdles never gets old. /image: Arthur Ward

People tripping over hurdles never gets old. /image: Arthur Ward

Tait Nystuen travels to France to compete on the track

Article: Paige Kreutzwieser – Staff Writer

When you think trip to Nice, France you likely think flip flops and bathing suits. For fifth-year business student Tait Nystuen, add spike shoes to the list as well.

Nystuen headed overseas to Nice to compete in the 2013 Jeux de la Francophonie. He was representing Team Canada, which consisted of three sub teams – one from Quebec, one from New Brunswick, and one from the remaining areas of Canada, in the 400-metre hurdles event.

Cougars teammate Jeremy Eckert also wore the maple leaf alongside Nystuen. The two were the sole Saskatchewan representation.

Nystuen, who placed seventh in the event, was pleased with his performance.
“It was a long season so the times weren’t particularly fast there,” he said. “But I did well.”

And having Eckert on the team added to the experience.

“It’s really cool having another U of R athlete on these national team trips with me because I had been on a couple before this summer,” said Nystuen. “It’s good to have somebody help represent Saskatchewan with you because you kind of can get lost.”

Another place you could get lost is at the Summer Universiade. The event, held every two years, was held in Kazan, Russia this year. Over 10,000 athletes – the largest in the event’s history – from 162 countries compete in 27 different sporting events. Some say this is the next biggest participation event behind the Olympics.

Nystuen and Eckert, alongside three other Cougars athletes, were part of the Canadian team. Nystuen competed in his main outdoor event – the 400-metre hurdles.

“Russia was the climax of my [outdoor] season,” he said. “That’s what I had been training for. And that’s my best performance of the year.”

Nystuen recorded his personal best with a time of 50.45 seconds, which got him 11th place – a spot which he expressed was a very good result for him.

“There was maybe 30 or 40 guys that were there in my event. But that’s the top guy from each country,” explained Nystuen.

Coming back from the Summer Universiade, Nystuen likely has a target on his back, as he is now the No. 1 ranked athlete with his new personal best. But, this hasn’t shaken his attitude towards his upcoming season with the Cougars.

“Track is one of those sports where there’s always a bigger fish,” he said. “So no matter how good you get there’s always somebody faster. So it keeps you hungry, which is great.”

Although Nystuen won’t be doing hurdles in the indoor season he will be competing in the 300-metre sprint where he would like to defend his Canada West title from two years ago.

For Nystuen, preparing for this year’s outdoor season meant he had to take last indoor season off with the Cougars so he could focus on training during the winter.

And it worked out for him. Training against NCAA athletes, and running the time to qualify for Russia before May, meant he had to head down south, across the border to avoid the snow that is usually still lingering around in April.

Not only a personal best in Russia, but also winning Senior Nationals – held in Moncton, NB in July – in the 400-metre hurdles event meant a very successful outdoor season for Nystuen.

But, he’s ready to officially become a Cougar again saying he’s “excited to get back on the track with all my teammates.”

As for right now, Nystuen needs a well-deserved break. It’s highly unlikely that Nystuen wants to travel via plane anytime soon as him and Eckert experienced some delay and ticket issues while flying back from France. Not to mention, the classic missing luggage situation.

But he only has a couple weeks to kick up his feet before he has to put those spikes back on. Training starts in October for the 2013-14 indoor track and field season.

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