Saskatchewan Huskies runner chasing Olympic dream fueled by Universiade success

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WATCH: Saskatchewan Huskie Courtney Hufsmith is zeroed in on qualifying for Tokyo 2020 – Sep 26, 2019

Courtney Hufsmith is having quite the year.

She started by winning two gold medals and a silver at the Canada West track and field championships then added a silver and bronze at the U Sports nationals.

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The icing on the cake came in July with a bronze medal in the 1,500 metres at the World University Games in Italy.

“Being in that stadium, there were probably like 10,000 people watching and that just elevates me even more,” Hufsmith said.

“Like you can do all the work behind the scenes but you’re always on your own and then to actually be able to perform in front of people, it just feels awesome.”

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While some athletes stumble upon reaching the world stage for the first time, that wasn’t the case for the Saskatchewan Huskies distance runner — she was laser-focused on finding the podium.

“We were getting a lot of fourths, a lot of fifths, a lot of sixth, sevenths, but I was like, I really want to bring home a medal,” Hufsmith said.

“There were two others on the track and field side that brought home a medal and I was like, ‘I wanna be top three.’”

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Now armed with the confidence that comes with international success the Huskies record holder in both the 1,500 and 3,000 metres is taking aim at an even bigger target — qualifying for the 2020 Olympics.

“I know who’s out there, like I’m friends with the people who I’m competing against now, meeting them on Team Canada, so just constantly seeing their feeds on social media and stuff too is like, I wanna be better than them,” Hufsmith said.

Huskies endurance coach Jamie Epp said Hufsmith is on the right course for obtaining that goal.

“It’s a matter of getting into the right races, getting a tiny bit faster and just trying to move up in those world rankings,” Epp said.

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It won’t be easy, but no matter how the next few months play out Hufsmith is in it for the long haul.

“That’s not the finish line for me,” she said

“I want to have a long career but I think that if I continue on the path I’m going I’m setting myself up pretty well so we’ll see if I can compete for one of those spots.”