Airdronian Sienna MacDonald placed first at the Bell Canadian Track & Field Championships in British Columbia last week. MacDonald accumulated 5643 points in the Women's Heptathlon competition. Heptathlons are track and field combined events contest made up of seven events, including hurdles, jumps, shot puts and javelin throws.
"The second day was hard. Every second day after the heptathlon is hard because you're already tired from the day before. We'd done four events already. My mindset going into it had to be to keep going," she said. "Every event is worth something. So you want to do good at everything. Going into it, I knew I had to start off with a strong long jump. If my long jump wasn't too strong, then I'd have to throw further in [javelin] and I'd have to run faster in the 800."
MacDonald who graduated from George McDougall High School and is now studying visual arts at the University of Calgary said that the coaches throughout her athletic career have made an inedible mark on her in many ways.
"There were a couple of different coaches that I had throughout high school, one being Mr. [Ryan] Haggerty. Then one of my club basketball coaches told me, 'man, you're fast. I've never seen a kid run as fast as you have. You should go into track,'" MacDonald said.
MacDonald would join the Alberta Summer Games and when the team was missing Heptathlete, she would step in, not knowing fully what the event entailed.
"I did the heptathlon and I ended up placing first in Alberta. It was my first heptathlon and I was like this is actually kind of cool, very painful, but definitely worth the pain. It was just such a different atmosphere from all the other track events," she said. "When you do the heptathlon, you're with these girls for two days and you don't leave each other side, so you're building that connection throughout the entire thing and you're cheering each other on. It's just such a positive atmosphere."
She said that one of the most important mindsets when competing in a heptathlon competition is that one must always be focused on the next event, without thinking of the prior results.
"If you do bad on one event, you can't bring that first event into your next one. So you have to forget about it and move on. Which sounds a lot easier than it is."
MacDonald also credited her current coach for her success.
"The biggest reason I am where I am today is because of Les Grammatik. He has taught me some of the most important tools to have success as an athlete, not only technical but mental too, which plays a big role in the heptathlon. He’s one of the best, if not the best coach a heptathlete could ask for," she wrote.
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