By Mariana Alvarez, Communications Coordinator

Each year Sport Manitoba gives out thousands of dollars to student-athletes and student-coaches who are pursuing sport in their post-secondary journeys. Madisson Lawrence is one of the recipients of a $3,000 Princess Royal Pan Am Scholarship, which provides support for Manitoba’s high-performance athletes in their pursuit of excellence at the national and international levels of competition. It also serves as a tribute to commemorate the Manitoba visit of Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal in 1999.

Navigating Challenges: Madisson’s Athletic Resilience

Madisson is currently studying at the University of Manitoba, and during the school year she competes with the Manitoba Bisons. Her first year as a member of the team was 2017/2018, and she has one year left of eligibility. Going back, Madisson says she originally got into track and field during middle school. 

“At that point, I was only involved in the school program, as I was also in dance and gymnastics,” she says. “However, I did see some early success in the sport, and when I moved on from gymnastics, I needed something to fill the void so I decided to sign up for a track club. I ended up loving the sport, which is why I’m still competing today.”

Her career training as a high performance athlete has been lots of fun, but also lots of hard work. Through COVID-19 and injury, Madisson says she has not always had a smooth path in sport.

“I have found ways to progress each year and improve my performance. It almost feels like overcoming these unexpected situations makes me grow even more as a person and an athlete.”

Beyond the Track: Achievements, Dreams, and Community Commitment

In 2022, she was a member of the Canada Summer Games team in Niagara. At this event, she competed in the Heptathlon, High Jump, and Long Jump, earning one gold medal and two silver medals. That same year, she was also named to her first national team for the NACAC combined event championships held in Ottawa where she placed 5th after faulting all of her attempts in Long Jump. She says she uses all her past competition experience to help her continue to pursue her athletic goals.

“In the long term, my goal is to broaden my international experience and continue to represent Canada on several stages. Specifically, my goal and dream is to achieve the Olympic standard and attend the Games in 2024 and/or 2028.”

Achieving these goals while still a student can be daunting, she says, which is why she’s so grateful for scholarships like this one. As a student, she’s always looking for financial aid, as scholarship programs help student athletes minimize the financial burden that comes with school and sports. Specifically, this helps reduce the costs of tuition, books, and equipment for sport, which is a huge help to any student athlete.

“Scholarships provide high performance athletes the opportunity to prioritize training. As a student-athlete, you have to balance your time very well to ensure you have time to complete all of your training, while also keeping up with your school work,” says Madisson. “The financial support from the scholarship allows me to continue focusing on training and studying without the added pressure of having to work. I am extremely grateful to be able to focus on these two important things that I love.”

On top of her training and schoolwork, Madisson still finds time to give back. Some of her volunteer work involves assisting at local track meets and volunteer teaching at an elementary school. Over the past three years, she has also become a volunteer coach for the Winnipeg Optimist Athletics track club. As a volunteer coach, she coaches 2-3 times per week alongside her own coach and mentor, Gee-Ef Nkwonta, and helps him teach upcoming athletes in all the events of track and field. Her role is to administer workouts to the athletes, demonstrate exercises, and provide corrections to help improve their technique.

Learn more about Sport Manitoba’s scholarships here.