Competing in her first pentathlon, Dacia Gramlick jumped all the way to a podium finish last weekend at the University of Alberta.
The 16-year-old upstart from Stettler grabbed a bronze medal at the Alberta Indoor Games track and field meet in Edmonton.
Gramlick, a star on the high school scene last spring, made a long-term commitment to track last fall when she joined an elite club, the Red Deer Titans. She trains with them two nights each week.
“They have really good conditioning, and I’ve been conditioning since last September,” Gramlick said Monday.
“It helped a lot. I’ve gained that much more muscle and that much more stamina and endurance. It paid off.”
Gramlick, who turns 17 later this month, earned a medal in the youth female (16 and 17) division. Her pentathlon performance amounted to a first-place finish in high jump (1.59 metres), second in the 60-metre hurdles (9.69 seconds), third in long jump (4.83 metres) and shot put (10.44 metres, and fifth in the 800 metres (two minutes and 45.80 seconds).
“Dacia had a great showing for her first-ever pentathlon event and was first — by a narrow margin — going into the last event, the 800 metres,” said Titans head coach Darren Posyluzny.
“She finished the pentathlon with the bronze medal and a total score of 3,075 points, and only 118 points shy of first place. Dacia’s results over the past two indoor meets rank her second in high jump, ninth in the 60-metre hurdles, and first in the long jump, in the province.”
Although she’s a newcomer to pentathlon competition, most of the events aren’t new to Gramlick, a Grade 11 student at William E. Hay Composite High School in Stettler.
“It wasn’t so much different,” she said. “I do all those events anyway, except for the 800 metres. They’re just more spaced out, most of the time.
“I started at 8:17 (a.m.) and was done by 1:30 (p.m.), so it was a lot different having so many events packed into that amount of time.
“You had to be there an hour before your check-in, so I was at the track at 7 a.m.”
Gramlick, a multi-sport athlete, believes it was just a matter of time before she tested herself in a pentathlon.
“I know a lot of people came up to me and asked me if I ever thought about doing a pentathlon,” she said. “I never really had, because it involves long-distance running, but I decided to give it a try.”
Her 1.59-metre high jump last weekend was a personal best.
“I love the jumping,” she said.
Gramlick has complemented her Red Deer training with private lessons in Stettler under the tutelage of Anthony Jones, who coaches the Wildcats during the high school season.
Immediately after a Stettler workout Monday evening, she headed to a Gracenotes Choir practice.
She was on the basketball court Tuesday night for a high school game with the Stettler Wildcats, who are off to a tournament this weekend in Lacombe.
A busy lifestyle seems to be natural for Gramlick, whose track schedule includes the Alberta indoor track and field championships March 1 and 2 in Edmonton and the Athletics Canadian indoor youth championships March 14 and 15 in Montreal.
Titans star Brayden Posyluzny — the youth male pentathlon champion at last weekend’s provincial meet in Edmonton — is also bound for the Montreal event.
“Brayden is also planning on attending the Youth Olympic qualifying trials in Miramar, Fla., in early April,” said his father and coach, Darren. “These trials will serve as the selection meet for Canadian athletes for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, in August.”
Posyluzny set high standards in his latest pentathlon. His times and distances were 8.75 seconds in the 60-metre hurdles, 6.31 metres in long jump, 14.64 metres in shot put, 1.63 metres in high jump; and three minutes and 3.47 seconds in the 1,000 metres.
“Brayden had a great meet and finished first overall with a combined score of 3,344 points and set a new Alberta indoor pentathlon record that was previously established in 2005 (3,311 points),” said Darren Posyluzny.
“After this meet, Brayden is currently ranked first in the indoor pentathlon, second in shot put, and second in the 60m hurdles, in the Canadian youth rankings.”