Bisons have their eyes on the prize

U of M men’s track team focused on national championship


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The Manitoba Bisons men’s indoor track and field team captured the Canada West conference title last season, but this year, they’re aiming even higher.

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The Manitoba Bisons men’s indoor track and field team captured the Canada West conference title last season, but this year, they’re aiming even higher.

A national championship.

Their ultimate goal might be within reach as they’re ranked No. 3 in the country. The women’s team isn’t far behind, as they’re slotted in at No. 7.

“This year has been going very well all around for everybody,” said Tristan Allen, a fourth-year sprinter from St. Andrews.

“On a personal level, I’ve never felt so confident. My mental head space is as clear as it’s ever been and that’s probably the biggest factor for me. I go into races a lot more excited than I have in previous years and nerves aren’t as much of an issue. Everything seems to be coming together.”

Allen has every right to be confident as he has the best time in the 600-metres in the conference this year at 1:18.47. His teammate and training partner, third-year runner Dawson Mann, is right behind him by half a second. Those times put the dynamic duo in third and fourth nationally.

“Racing each other is always fun and always good competition,” said Mann, a product of Sanford.

“This season Tristan’s had a history of just getting me at the end of races over and over again. It’s always a bit frustrating, but obviously I’m always happy to see him do well so it’s not a negative for me.”

Mann has enjoyed a breakout season with the Herd. He battled a hip injury last year which put him on the sidelines for several events. Heading into 2023, he wasn’t thinking about finishing on the podium, he just wanted to stay healthy. He’s not only done that so far, but has also put himself in a prime position to earn his first individual medal at next month’s Canada West championships in Saskatoon (Feb. 24-25). The U Sports championship also take place in Saskatoon a few weeks later (March 9-11).

“A big part of it was I’m more motivated this season since I missed out on last season with it not going the way I wanted it to. I’ve just been focusing on the basics, training hard, taking care of my body and things like that,” said Mann.

“To see that pay off was really nice. Now not really having to worry about my injury, it’s about seeing what I can do and seeing how far I can go.”

Allen used to use his speed on the baseball diamond as an outfielder at Dickinson State University in North Dakota. After a year of ball, Allen decided to round third and head home to focus on track. The Bisons are glad he did as Allen, as well as Mann, have qualified for nationals in the 600, as well as the 4×400 and 4×800 relays.

“I think I noticed I had more potential with track and definitely at that point, I was enjoying track more than I was enjoying baseball,” said Allen.

“I think I was at the end of the road with baseball, which is fine, it happens, and I had track to replace it. I think it was a good decision, ultimately.”

Allen won silver in the 600-metre at last year’s Canada West meet before finishing in fifth on the national stage.

“I have some unfinished business I need to take care of this year,” said Allen.

Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...

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