In his first indoor track meet, Cochrane athlete Clayton Grattidge has placed in the top 10 nationally in the U20 600m.

In the Golden Bear Open, the 17-year-old won bronze with a time of 1:23.43 and is currently ranked eighth in the country by Athletics Canada.

Grattidge says he was a little nervous going into the meet. It was his first time competing on an indoor 200m track and he enjoyed the electric atmosphere it offered.

He ran at a 1,000m post-secondary level race the day before his 600m race. He finished 15th with a time of 2:38.79.

"I was definitely a lot more nervous for this one as I was racing my first race at the USport level. After I got that one out of the way, the 600 felt good, and I was a bit sharper."

Only in base training, Grattidge views it as a good starting point and is excited for what's to follow.

As a member of the Cochrane Endurance Project (CEPR) team, Grattidge now has his sights set on competing at the USports level and has been in discussions with the University of Alberta and Trinity Western University in B.C. 

The grade 12 student also competes for Cochrane High. At last spring's ASAA provincials, he won gold in the 800m and silver in the 400m.

Four other athletes from the Endurance Project competed. 

Head coach Travis Cummings says the women's team of Courtney Brohart, Sophia Nowicki, Bridget Pyke, and Jessica Kaiser all strongly opened the season.

In the women's varsity 3,000m. Brohart ran a personal best of 10:13.64 and won bronze.

Cummings says it's the earliest in the indoor season that their athletes have started to compete. Last year at this time, health restrictions of the pandemic were having an impact, but that's no longer the case.

"We usually aren't this busy early in the year,  but we've got quite a few athletes that need to do some indoor competition because they're getting recruited and universities and colleges are interested in them."

This weekend, they're sending a team to the Dinos Open at the University of Calgary.

"We're quite a bit busiest on the indoor schedule because kids are ready to go, we're back to normal, and they have bigger goals this year that we have to accommodate.

"It's exciting," he chuckles. "We're hitting the ground running in January. We're off to the races already, literally."