Langley British Columbia—Ian Sharp is the only pentathlete on Trinity Western University’s track and field roster—and most would say he’s holding up his end of the team. Sharp was recently ranked 7th in the CIAU’s Canada West Track and Field Championships All Time Top Ten Performers and Performances for last season’s standing in the men’s pentathlon.
A third year student from Castlegar, B.C., Sharp came to Trinity Western University as an experienced competitor in the decathlon. However, with no decathlon event in the Canadian Inter-collegiate Athletic Union (CIAU), Canada’s top university athletic association, Sharp shifted focus. His transition to the pentathlon, which includes 60 metre hurdles, long jump, shot-put, high jump and 1000 metres, came naturally.
“When I first started I was pretty raw,” says Sharp. “Shane Wiebe definitely took me under his wing and is an amazing coach.”
Under the instruction of TWU Track and Field Head Coach Shane Wiebe, a former decathlete ranked 5th in North America in 1989, and Assistant Track and Field Coach Tim Kroeker, a semi-finalist in 110 metre hurdles at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Sharp noticed big improvements in his performance. Sharp comments that physical training was not the only factor that came into play, as Trinity Western’s coaching staff worked to develop more than just his athletic ability.
“The big emphasis in track and field is on the development of character because that directly influences how you do in track,” says Sharp. “The obvious thing that comes into play is work ethic. Being in track can be time consuming, so your ability to balance your life is also important. I’m encouraged to go to other things and see other things with value.”
“The coaches send me to things like leadership conferences and camps to develop leadership skills,” says Sharp. “The amount of ways they’ve worked with me is amazing.”
Guidance from TWU’s coaching staff along with Sharp’s dedicated training paid dividends last February, when Sharp placed 4th in the pentathlon at the Canada West Track and Field Championships in Winnipeg, Man. Though he battled the flu all week, his 3485 point score was only 10 points short of securing a bronze medal. That standing qualified Sharp for the CIAU national championships in March in Montreal, Que. “It was my first year in the CIAU, and I had no idea what to expect,” says Sharp.
Sharp shook off his first-time jitters and placed seventh overall at the CIAU national championships. He also scored a personal best running time of 2:36.80 in the 1000 metres, beating his old mark by 4 seconds.
Calling the pentathlon an event for the “jumper,” Sharp has spent this season working on his long jump and high jump events. “Because there’s only five events in the pentathlon, one event can make a huge difference,” he says.
Sharp had the chance to test his skills at the Last Chance Meet in Edmonton, Alta., last weekend. Because the meet did not offer the pentathlon, Sharp entered in four of the five events that comprise the pentathlon, and brought home a gold medal in shot-put and silver medals in 60 metre hurdles and long jump.
“Ian is continually learning about what it takes to succeed at a very high level,” says Wiebe. "Last season was a good introduction for him. He now knows what to shoot for and what it’s going to take to get himself to the top. He has a lot going for him. He is talented and our team’s hardest worker. He also provides our team with a lot of leadership.”
With his sights set on nationals in March, Sharp will continue his tough training routine. “If you can imagine yourself being sore every day, that is the type of mentality that I go through at this stage,” says Sharp. “I’m working my body, breaking it down and rebuilding it.”
His goal is to place in the top three at nationals this year. With the TWU coaching staff behind him, three months of training before him and last season’s experience to give him a feel for what to expect, Sharp adds, “I think it’s totally workable.”
Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a privately funded Christian liberal arts university enrolling 2,850 students this year. With a broad-based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 34 major areas ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.
Last Updated: 2012-08-21