Cochrane athlete Clay Grattridge has returned with a gold and bronze medal from his first appearance at Canada West Championship of USports with the UAlberta Golden Bears track team.

Grattidge and teammates Josh Li Clay, Tyler Sharpe and Justin Rose ran a 3:17.38 on the 4x400m, one-tenth of a second faster than the second place UManitoba Bisons entry. URegina was third with 3:21.31.

grattidge bronzeGrattidge, left, with his 4x800m teammates. (photo supplied)

In the 4x800, Grattidge and teammates Leif Pougnet, Matthew Water and Tyler Sharpe won bronze with a time of 7:41.58, behind second place Regina (7:39.18) and the UManitoba gold medalists (7:38.64).

He ran in the first leg of the 800m and second of the 400m.

A rookie with the Golden Bears team, he was originally scheduled to appear in the 4x800 and 600m. He warmed up for the 4x400 with about five other athletes and found out about five minutes ahead of the race that we would be competing. Grattidge called it a little nerve wracking, but plenty of fun, and he appreciated the opportunity.

"I was quite surprised that they put me in because I hadn't run a 4x100 at any of the meets. I was very happy that they gave me the chance to hop in there and run with some of the older senior guys who have been running for four or five years. It was pretty cool."

Competing at Canada West was one of the goals he set out at the beginning of the season. Competing well made it particularly special.

The Manitoba Bisons host the 2024 USports track and field championship, Mar. 7 to 9.

"I am really pumped about it. I've loved running with all these guys and to go to nationals with them is such an awesome opportunity."

The 6 ft., 155 lb. athlete trained and competed with the Cochrane Endurance Project and was a member of the Cochrane High track team, where he medalled in back-to-back provincials. He also ran cross-country.

READ: Grattidge breaks top 10 national rankings in first indoor meet

He was being scouted by several post-secondary institutes before deciding to sign with the Golden Bears. 

"This is my first season, and I didn't really know what to expect coming in, but you know it's been going really well." says Grattidge. "I was pretty nervous my first race, which was the Sanderson Classic in Saskatchewan. The meets just kept on coming, and it's just been going uphill from there, which is nice.

"It's been lots of fun and the training group of guys that we have are really good. There's definitely a lot of really good guys, which helps to push you. It's been fun."

Travis Cummings, of the Endurance Project, was able to catch some of his performance at the Canada West championship. He was also cheers on by his parents and brother at the Universiade Pavilion, better known as the Butterdome.

He is in his first year of studies at the UAlberta faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, & Recreation.