By Sarah Tone, Communications Coordinator
Watching the warm-up in the women’s shot put at the Jim Daly Bison Classic 1.0, Anna McConnell doesn’t stand out from her competitors. But once the competition begins, the difference is abundantly clear. Anna begins her competition with a throw of 14.08 meters, a full 3 meters clear of her nearest competitor. By the end of the competition, Anna records a personal best of 14.68 meters. She smiles and indicates to her coach and friends that 15 meters is definitely in sight, maybe even at the next competition.
The fourth-year University of Manitoba Kinesiology student is majoring in athletic therapy. One of the captains of the track and field team, she has made incredible strides in the shot put over the past two years, raising her PB from 12 to almost 15 meters.
Anna gives lots of credit to her coaches. Coach Mingpu Wu has worked with Anna to develop her speed and coach Adam Stevenson is her strength coach. In addition to lots of hard work on technique, her results speak for themselves.
At the Canada West Championship, she overthrew her personal best and achieved a 14.93m throw – she won the competition and broke a Bisons’ team record. A few weeks later, she travelled to Saint John, New Brunswick, to compete at the USports Championships where she threw 14.39m and won the championship once again.
Winning nationals was the primary goal of Anna’s indoor season, which she described as incredible and unbelievable at the same time.
Growing Up a Multi-Sport Athlete
Anna wasn’t always a thrower. A multi-sport athlete growing up, she played lots of ringette, hockey, and team handball, even playing on the provincial team in handball. She loved playing basketball on her high school team (Glenlawn Collegiate), and smiles as she says she wished she had been better at that sport. Anna has memories of losing in the provincial final four in basketball to Vincent Massey Collegiate. You can tell it still bothers her four years later.
Anna started throwing the discus in grades 7 and 8, and in grade 10 she first tried the shot put, now her better event of the two. Her discuss personal best is 39 meters, but she hopes to toss one out 45 meters in the near future. With her sights set on the Canada Games in Niagara in August, Anna hopes to medal in both throws.
What’s Next for Anna
When asked about her ultimate goals, Anna would like to qualify for the FISU World University Games, and to be a member of the U23 Canadian Track and Field Team.
The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but you wouldn’t know it talking to Anna. Lots of training with her University of Manitoba team (five days a week plus three strength sessions weekly), hanging out with friends, and walking Spotty, her Maltese Poodle, have all helped her over the past two years.
Her short-term track and field goals are with her U of M team. Her next two major events are the Canadian Outdoor Nationals in B.C. and then the Canada Summer Games in Niagara. Anna is continuing her pursuit of being an athletic therapist and recently worked in spring training camps for both the U of M Bisons and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Follow Team Manitoba’s journey to the 2022 Canada Summer Games on Instagram @teamtoba