Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

It's a U of M homecoming for talented jumper

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HOME is where the heart and the highest jumps are for University of Manitoba track and field athlete Lucas Rodewald.

Rodewald, 18, has returned to Manitoba and joined the Bisons after spending the first semester in Vancouver with the University of British Columbia track and field program. He will compete for the Bisons for the second time this season this weekend at the Manitoba Indoor Games 2009 where he will compete in high jump and long jump.

"It had absolutely nothing to do with the training or the track, it was more the academics and the whole general being-on-your-own thing was a little difficult to adapt to so I decided to come home for the second semester," said Rodewald, who represented Canada at the 2007 IAAF World Youth Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic. "I don't regret it but it's nice to be home."

Since the UBC team did not participate in any track and field competitions in the first semester, Rodewald did not use any Canadian Interuniversity Sport eligibility and was able to immediately transfer to Manitoba and is still a first-year athlete.

Rodewald said until last weekend, his last competition had been the junior nationals in July of 2008 when he recorded his personal best high jump of 2.07 metres.

Last weekend at the Jack Johnson Classic at the University of Minnesota, he jumped 1.99 metres and placed second in the event.

"I think if I had been a little more active in competitions, winning that wouldn't have been a big issue because I have jumped a lot higher than that before," he said. "I'm just working now to get back to the level I was at the end of last summer and place well at the CIS championships for the Bisons."

Claude Berube, head coach of the U of M track and field team, said Rodewald is a valuable addition to the team.

"He was an athlete we were hoping to recruit here right from the beginning because he's shown that he is a big-meet competitor who has always competed well at the national level," Berube said.

Rodewald said a longer-term goal is to represent Canada at the Pan Am Junior Athletics Championship July 31-Aug. 2 in Trinidad, for which he would need to achieve the standard of 2.05m and place in the top two at the junior nationals July 17-19 in Charlottetown.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 30, 2009 C5

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