K of C Lay Out Plans For 50th Indoor Games

The 50th Annual Knights of Columbus Indoor Games announced the “power couple” of track and field will be competing at this year’s event January 29 – 31st at the Saskatoon Field House. Brianne Theisen-Eaton and husband Ashton Eaton will be participating in high jump and hurdles, plus providing a demonstration featuring a couple of Saskatchewan’s current up-and-coming athletes. Theisen-Eaton, originally from Humboldt made her presence known on the world stage while still in high school by winning a gold medal at the 2007 Pan-Am Junior Championship. As a member of the University of Oregon team Theisen-Eaton not only established herself as one of the world’s elite athletes in the heptathlon with three NCAA Indoor titles but also met Ashton Eaton and they married in July 2013. Other career highlights for Theisen-Eaton include competing in the 2012 London Olympics, winning silver at the 2013 World Championship and silver at the 2014 World Indoor Championship that saw Theisen-Eaton break her own national record with 4,768 points in the pentathlon. She also recently won gold at the Commonwealth Games.

Ashton Eaton is an Olympic champion (2012) and holds the world record in both the decathlon and heptathlon events. He is only the second decathlete (after Roman Šebrle) to break the 9,000-point barrier, with 9,039 points.
Some other invitational athletes attending the Games include;
– Dontae Richards-Kwok – semi-finalist in 100m at 2014 Commonwealth Games, CIS champ at 100m
– Gavin Smellie – 8th in 200m at 2014 Commonwealth Games, 1st in 100m and 3rd in 200m at CAN national championships.
– Shai-Anne Davis, Crystal Emmanuel, Khamica Bingham and Phylicia George – all semifinalists at 20014 Commonwealth Games. (Davis, Emmanuel and George were 3/4 of the 4×100 team that finished 4th at the Commonwealth Games)

Organizers also announce Joe Morrissey as this year’s Honourary Meet Chair. Morrissey has been a coach for 35 years in Saskatoon, 15 years as head coach of Riversdale track and Field club, 6 years with the U of S , 8 years Sprint Coach with Saskatoon Track and Field Club and is currently the President for Saskatoon Track and Field Club, one of the largest clubs in Canada.

He has also served in other capacities within the Track and Field world – 6 years as a Board member of Athletics Canada, 15 years as a Board Member of Saskatchewan Athletics, served as the Manager/Coach of 1989 World Indoor Games in Paris, France and was voted by the athletes to carry the flag into the stadium during the opening ceremonies. He has coached many provincial high school 100m/200m champions and coached the 4 X 200m female junior record holders — a standard which has now stood for 18 years. Morrissey was named SaskSport Volunteer of the Year in 2013, gold medal recipient from the Governor General and currently consults with the Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs in forming and providing Track & Field to First Nations athletes.

As with the previous 49 K of C Games the Meet will feature the elementary school relays with age groups of under 11, under 13 and under 15. These relays will include the 4 X100 and 8 X100. Competition starts Jan. 29 with the elementary school relays at 4:00pm. The relays attract nearly 4,500 young athletes from across Saskatoon. “It’s always so much fun when these elementary school kids get to compete and then watch how the truly elite athletes prepare” says Games Executive Director Bob Barkman, “it’s a great learning experience for them.” Along with the Invitation events and school relays there will also be age class, Masters, Paralympic and Special Olympic events. The price of admission is $10.00 per day or $15 for all three days with tickets available at the door.

Another feature of the Knights of Columbus Saskatchewan Indoor Games occurs on January 28th when organizers will take several of the elite athletes on school tours. They will visit five inner-city elementary schools “with a message of encouragement” says Barkman, “some of these athletes had extremely humble beginnings and worked very hard to achieve success, it’s a good message”.