Huskies student-athlete Courtney Hufsmith celebrates her bronze medal in the 1,500 metres at the World University Games last month. (Photo: Mathieu Belanger)

Huskies’ Hufsmith shines on world stage

Courtney Hufsmith returned from Europe with more than the usual assortment of souvenirs in her luggage.

The 20-year-old University of Saskatchewan Huskie Athletics track star from Saskatoon came home with a bronze medal after finishing third in the women’s 1,500 metres at the World University Games, capturing one of the six medals won by Team Canada athletes from July 3-14 in Naples, Italy.

For Hufsmith, earning a medal on the world stage was a moment she will never forget.

“Being able to represent the country has always been a dream of mine, so it’s hard to describe just how great that felt to actually have it happen,” said Hufsmith, who enters her fourth year in the Edwards School of Business next month, after making the Dean’s Honour Roll in 2018. “This is for sure the biggest competition and best result that I have had. But I have had a lot of highlights recently that have really reinforced that all the hard work that I have been putting in does pay off.”

One of Canada’s up-and-coming middle-distance runners, Hufsmith was named a U Sports All-Canadian in both track and cross-country last season, and has set Huskie records in both the 1,500m and 3,000m. She set a new personal best time of 4:11.81 in the 1,500m to make the medal podium at the Summer Universiade.

Hufsmith said knowing that she had plenty of support from teammates, family and friends back home gave her added motivation and inspiration overseas.

“I brought along some things to remind me of the Huskies back home and all of the messages from teammates and everything was awesome,” she said. “I think that support was a big part of what carried me through the race, just knowing how many people were watching back home and being kind of an ambassador for the Huskies program really felt great.”

Hufsmith hopes to be an Olympian one day, with her race times getting closer and closer to meeting the qualifying standard for the world track and field championships (Sept. 28-Oct. 6 in Qatar) and possibly the 2020 Summer Olympics (July 25-August 9 in Japan).

“The Olympics is something that I want to achieve one day, but as the year 2020 gets closer and as my times keep getting better, it’s becoming more of a reality that I might have a chance of making that team,” she said. “If I do make it next year, that will be amazing. But if I don’t, I will just keep going and working towards it.”

Huskies student-athlete Courtney Hufsmith. (Photo: Mathieu Belanger)

Hufsmith was one of four Huskies and two other USask students who competed in the Summer Universiade. Here’s a look at their results:

Megan Ahlstrom/Kyla Shand

The two members of the Huskie women’s basketball team helped Canada beat Argentina 75-36 and Mexico 67-54 in the last two games to place 13th out of 16 teams. Ahlstrom, a 5-foot-10 guard from Calgary and an Academic All-Canadian studying in the College of Kinesiology, had a solid all-around effort in Canada’s win over Argentina with 13 rebounds, five assists and four points. Shand, a 6-foot-3 post and fellow kinesiology student from Saskatoon, was second on the team with 12 points and five rebounds versus Argentina.

Dylan Mortensen

The 6-foot-7 Canada West conference all-star outside hitter with the Huskie men’s volleyball team helped Canada finish 11th out of 20 teams by amassing 70 kills and a team-high 14 blocks. The 2018 U Sports rookie of the year led Canada with 18 kills and five blocks to close out the tournament with a five-set victory over Brazil. Mortensen is from Swift Current and is in the Edwards School of Business.

Kirsten Van Marion

USask student Kirsten Van Marion competed in fencing, finishing 17th overall in the women’s team epee relay for Canada. The USask engineering student and former university national champion from Asquith, Sask., also finished 57th out of 79 competitors in the individual women’s epee.

Alayna Chan

USask student Alayna Chan represented Canada in table tennis, advancing to the round of 32 in women’s doubles. The USask Arts and Science student and former national doubles champion from Saskatoon was also eliminated in the round of 64 in women’s singles action and mixed doubles.

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