Four years ago, Joy Spear Chief-Morris began to think more seriously about track and field when she realized she could actually do something with her talents.
She was a multi-sport athlete all the way through high school, with more of a focus on volleyball and basketball than track and field. It wasn't until she won the 100-metre sprint in grade 10 that she started to realize she might actually be able to do something with track in her future.
Now, in perhaps her final year at Western, she is a not only a leading Mustang in short distance sprints and hurdles, but one of the top Canadians at the university level.
The Lethbridge, AB native actually transferred from the University of British Columbia to Western two years ago and benefitted right away.
“[I was] looking for an atmosphere where I could really be a part of a team and excel and be the best that I could, and that’s why I came here,” explained Spear Chief-Morris.
A big pull to Western was how driven she felt the coaches and teammates were. The level of support she receives from everyone at Western makes her grateful to be a Mustang.
At last year's Ontario University Athletics championships, Spear Chief-Morris captured two silver medals, one in the 4x200-metre relay and one in the 60-metre dash. One week later, she finished with a bronze at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships with the same relay team that earned her a podium finish at provincials.
At the moment, with roughly four weeks until the 2016 OUA championships, Spear Chief-Morris isn't training at 100 per cent because she's coming back from a foot injury she sustained in the summer.
"I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my right foot back in May, so I spent two months in an air cast boot and couldn't run all summer," explained Spear Chief-Morris.
Despite the injury, she has been able to get healthy again by cross training with pool and bike workouts, along with her track workouts. Although she still has some issues with foot pain and soreness since moving back to the indoor track, she is still able to train fully and compete.
“I’m in spikes [many] days of the week, so when I’m not in spikes I try to be as easy on my body as possible,” explained Spear Chief-Morris.
After recently being named Western’s athlete of the week, her victory in the 60-metre hurdles 10 days ago at Western’s Don Wright Team Challenge gives her the fuel to keep the momentum going for the track season.
Track and field head coach Vickie Croley explained that with a team in the top five in the country, the chance of a national championship is always there.
“[We can win] if we can keep our athletes healthy and get on a roll and build on positive momentum,” said Croley.
Spear Chief-Morris explained that being the top ranked team in the nation and competing on her home track really pumped her up at the Don Wright meet.
After winning her preliminary heat for the 60-metre hurdle, Spear Chief-Morris was able to win the final despite hitting one of the hurdles.
This past weekend she did not compete in the team's meet at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan but she will join the team this weekend in Toronto at the York Open.