Naomi Lances takes over UWaterloo's track

Naomi Lance

Capping off her varsity career with five Waterloo track records to her name, Naomi Lance sure knows how to exit with style. The track and field star is in her final year of Therapeutic Recreation in the Faculty of Applied Health Science and this year’s Female Athlete of the Year.

Lance’s final competition of the year was at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Championship, where she won the silver medal in the 300m race. She hit the finish line in just 39.17 seconds – only 0.07 seconds behind the gold medal. This performance ranks her third all-time in UW history and Naomi was named a CIS all-Canadian for her efforts.

Over the last five years, Lance won nearly a dozen awards, including multiple Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards and two consecutive athletic excellence scholarships. For the Kitchener-Waterloo local, patience and confidence were two of the most important lessons that she had to learn as a varsity athlete.

Naomi LanceI experienced my share of chronic injuries over my career as a Warrior, but the most difficult challenge was finding a way to break mental barriers and find confidence in myself every race. It’s easy to line up on a start line and compare yourself to the rest of the competitors. I had to start believing that I could win every race. If I was losing, I had to remember to hold my form and focus on driving my knees and pumping my arms through the last part of the race while I closed the gap.

Besides overcoming the physical demands of being a nationally ranked athlete, Lance had to figure out how to balance academics and sport.

Practice, plus a weight room session, can easily take four hours out of your day. Prioritizing and making sure I planned a schedule around class and practice times helped my success, both on and off the track. Varsity athletics is a huge commitment but if it's important enough to you, you find a way to make it work.

The Male Athlete of the Year was hockey player Colin Behenna. The mathematician wrapped up the season with 150 points in 109 season games. Go Warriors, go! 

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