The number of new track and field recruits that joined the University of Stellenbosch fold at the start of 2018 might be the reason why the maroon outfit will be a force to reckon with in this season’s Varsity Athletics competition.
Led by experienced Maties athletes Justine Palframan and Wynand du Toit, upcoming stars Brittany Uys, Karl-Otto Matthee and Chery-Lee Schoeman won’t have any issues adapting to the high standards of Varsity Athletics. The question is: do they really need any adapting if you consider their running portfolios?
“We were lacking strong middle and long distance runners,” says Maties coach Hadley Volkwyn.
Schoeman comes in like a breath of fresh air. Dubbed as one of the most prominent junior middle and long distance athletes in her high school career, Schoeman will have to impress in her first year of university. She is an experienced athlete who needs no adapting wherever she lines up, so at least one thing is sorted. Having waved the South African flag high at the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Uganda last year, surely she only has improvement on her mind, and on Friday her personal best of 4:36.0 in the 1500m might be the first time she will look to improve.
Also joining the Stellenbosch institute is Karl-Otto Matthee, a prominent junior long jump athlete. The former Western Province Athletics star has a lifetime best leap of 7.25m written next to his name, but he has been hard at work, so his best is set to be improved, especially considering the fact that he will be jumping at altitude this weekend. Surely the former Jan Van Riebeeck scholar has his eyes set on a win, and what a win that would be. He has top flight junior athletics experience in the bag, and now it’s almost time to make his mark among the high flyers of senior track and field.
Brittany Uys, another recruit who hails from Durban, represented ASA at the twentieth CAA African Championships on her home soil two years ago, so when it comes to experience, she has a lot of it. Courageous and willing to work hard, Uys started athletics in primary school, and when she started breaking provincial records a light popped up. This is her gift. Fast forward ten years, and she has overcome many injuries, set many records, and committed her life to high jump. The prestigious Varsity Athletics competition is another platform that she will use better her personal best performance, and her lifetime best is 1.75m, a height that, if she gets over it, can easily make her champion in both legs.
“We know in order to be the best you have to recruit the best. These are really a special group of individuals who are capable of performing at the highest level of the sport,” added Volkwyn. “Maties Athletics have gone through a complete overhaul and with the depth, level of performance and a lot of flavor that these new student-athletes bring, we are to finish in the top 3 in this year’s competition.”
By Reginald Hufkie