Both Dalhousie University’s men’s and women’s track and field teams brought home championship banners again this year.
For the women’s team, this was the 29th consecutive season of winning the Atlantic University Sport Championships. Among their star athletes was rookie Savanna Jordan.
Jordan has had an outstanding first year, considering that she spent her track season training exclusively for cross country after winning a spot in the Pan American Jr. Cross Country Championships in El Salvador, which took place a week before AUS championships.
She placed first in the 3000-metre race and second in the 1500-metre at the AUS championships. She also helped bring the 4×800 metre relay team to a first-place-finish.
Jordan finished 15th in the 1500-metre in her first meet at McGill. She finished the race with a time of 4:40.
“We did the 1500 to see what we had speed wise,” Jordan says. “It didn’t go as good as I had hoped, but we expected that.”
She says that just making it to the U Sports championships after spending her season training for cross country was exciting. She performed well at the U Sports championships, placing eighth in the 3000-metre with a personal best of 9:38.
“We knew she didn’t really need a ton of work to win the 3000-metre at AU’s (AUS), but then what she did at U Sports Championships […] while focusing on cross country, was pretty impressive,” says Head Coach Rich Lehman.
Jordan had an excellent cross country season this past fall as well. She placed first in the AUS Cross Country Championships and she finished 12th at the U Sports Cross Country Championships with the fastest time of any rookie at 28:54.
In addition to receiving all-star honours, she was named AUS’s cross country Athlete of the Year and Rookie of the Year. She also won U Sports Rookie of the Year.
Even though Jordan had a successful season, it was tough for her to get adjusted to an athlete’s demanding schedule. She notes that keeping a healthy balance between practice, schoolwork and competition has been a challenge this year.
“I want to run because I want to relieve stress; but then it adds stress because I don’t have time. I need to be studying,” she says.
As a first-year competing in a university setting, she acknowledges that there’s a different kind of pressure associated with the sport now.
“You’re really competing for your team,” she says. “You want to get your teams points and any place top eight counts.
Jordan certainly helped her team acquire points in her first year. But Lehman knows she has more work to do is she wants to sustain and improve upon her level of success.
“Basically, a perfect first-year,” says Lehman. “But our ability to build on that is going to define her career.”
“What she has – as far as pure racing ability is concerned – is something that you can’t teach.”