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Wednesday, 08 June 2011 15:20

High-flier Rumpel grounded as championships cancelled

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By Brad Brown — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Good things did not come in threes for Megan Rumpel at this year’s Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association track and field championships.

The Swift Current Comprehensive High School senior lost her chance for a third straight high jump gold medal when a labour dispute between the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and provincial government caused the SHSAA to cancel track and field provincials May 27.

More importantly for Rumpel, it also cost her a shot at a 19-year-old provincial record.

Provincials had been scheduled for June 3-4 in Regina.

“It was really devastating for me personally because all year I’ve been talking to my main jumping coach, Steve Hurst, about how this is my year to break the record for the high jump,” said Rumpel.

“I’ve gotten so close to the record already … but Ijust didn’t get there. This year I wasn’t even thinking about other competitors. I just wanted the record.

“I understand why it had to be cancelled, but it was pretty devastating in that aspect.”

Rumpel won SHSAA gold as a midget in 2009 with a jump of 1.58 metres, and repeated last year as a junior with a jump of 1.65 m. At youth nationals, last year she cleared 1.72 m and already this year had a successful jump of 1.70 m. The provincial senior girls’ record of 1.71 m was set in 1992 by Brandy Wehrhahn.

When the province and STF agreed last week to go to mediation, there was a glimmer of hope provincials could be salvaged, but the SHSAA confirmed its original decision June 1, citing a lack of time to make all the necessary preparations.

“Even when they said it could possibly come back on, I knew it wasn’t going to happen,” said Rumpel.

“There was no way after sectionals that they could get all our times from there and figure out who would make it for provincials. So it wasn’t really a second blow when that happened. I always figured in my mind it wouldn’t happen. I wanted it to, but I didn’t really expect it.”

For Rumpel, the cancellation isn’t the end of the line.

She will attend trials next week in Saskatoon in an attempt to qualify for the Western Canada

Summer Games, which are scheduled for Aug. 5-14 in Kamloops, B.C.

She will also attend the University of Regina in the fall as a member of the Cougars track and field team.

Not all of her teammates were as lucky. Kale Scherger, also in Grade 12 at the Comp, had his sights on competing in the first-ever quadrathlon — comprised of the 100 and 800 m runs, long jump and shot put.

“It was my last chance to do something special, so I was pretty disappointed that provincials were cancelled,” said Scherger. “I was really hoping we could still compete. When they announced that extra-curricular activities were back on I was hopeful, but then they rescheduled everything except track, so it was kind of a kick in the teeth, but there’s not much you can do about it.”

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