Coaches Corner 2017-12-20T17:51:41+00:00


Sonya moved to Medicine Hat in 2009 to begin her career in Health Promotion. Upon arriving in Medicine Hat she immediately sought out coaching opportunities in Athletics and immediately began coaching with the Medicine Hat Panthers. In 2011 she became Head Coach of the Club and has assumed this role ever since.
Sonya is passionate about developing physical literacy skills in children and youth. Her love for track and field and working with emerging athletes shows when she is on the track. Whether you are training for recreational purposes, looking to gain that competitive edge or brand new to the sport – Sonya is sure to instil a love for track and field in you.
Outside of coaching, Sonya enjoys her career in Health Promotion, spending time with her family (husband and babies Jayce & Everly), and doing CrossFit.

NCCP Level 2 Track and Field
NCCP Run/Jump/Throw
NCCP Fundamental Movement Skills
NCCP Sport Coach
Standard first aid + CPR

JASMIN SJODIN – Assistant Coach

Jasmin is an energetic, active, and approachable individual. After completing her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Counselling, and Human Development, she chose to move to Medicine Hat to be closer to family. Jasmin works at the Brooks Campus for the Medicine Hat College as the academic advisor. She enjoys working with others to help them identify their strengths and achieve their goals. She enjoys being active and meeting new people within the community.
As a former varsity track sprinter for Simon Fraser University, Jasmin understands the importance of remaining positive to perform at one’s peak level. She has had the opportunity to grow up on the track training at a competitive level from a young age. This past year, Jasmin has had the pleasure of coaching Panthers athletes at the Junior, Intermediate, and Senior levels. She is excited to continue to give back to the sport and share her knowledge and passion with the Panthers Track Club.

LEO GAYLE – Assistant Coach

Leo has always loved track and field!  Prior to coming to Canada, he grew up in Jamaica and trained in the 100m, 200m, 400m, triple-long-high jump.  His high school coach was Glen Mills, the same coach as Usain Bolt!  Leo attended the University of the West Indies, where he continued competing.  He was twice Sportsman of the year and three times Champion Male athlete.  His sprinting knowledge will be a fabulous resource for young, upcoming sprinters.  Leo ran the 400m in 46.9, the 200m in 21.2 and the 100m in 10.9!

Leo currently works for Alberta Health Services as an Addictions Counsellor and is busy raising a young family.


DARRYL SMITH – Cross Country Coach

My name is Darryl Smith and I have been involved with track and cross country for the past 40 years as an athlete, coach, organiser, dad and administrator. My entire family runs and enjoys the thrill of competition. I have two amazing boys Elias and Gage and an amazing wife Sharleen.
Running and competing go hand in hand for me as a coach and athlete. I run to compete and I compete so I can run. Its the physical challenges that I like as a runner. I want to push myself to go further and harder each time I run.
As a coach, I love the development of the athlete as a runner but most of all the individual. When an athlete truly understands that the competition in not external but an internal battle that is won through grit, hard work and sacrifice. One of my favourite quotes by one of my favourite runners is: “I don’t run to see who is the fastest, I run to see who has the most guts!” Steve PreFontaine
Running has no barriers or limitations. We can run anywhere, at anytime and in any weather. The only limitations that truly exist for us, are the one’s we put on ourselves!
Darryl is a teacher at EBHS, the Panthers Club President and a member of the track community

AMANDA WEILER – Assistant Coach

Amanda received an Honours BSc in Neuroscience from the University of Lethbridge and moved to Medicine Hat in 2017. She trained and competed for the U of L Pronghorns track and field team as a hammer and weight thrower for five years. She is a five-time Canada West Championships competitor and five-time Academic All-Canadian Award recipient. As a Pronghorn athlete, she was a volunteer coach at various schools and club programs in Lethbridge and surrounding area.
In her spare time, Amanda enjoys hiking and spending time in the mountains. She is very passionate about health and fitness and is excited to share this passion with the Panthers Track and Field club.

DARREN KLEIN – Throws Coach

Darren grew up in Brooks, Ab. As a family they went to many Southern Alberta Summer Games (SASG), camping and participating as a family. They competed in many family relays but the favourite was ball throw! Ball throw transitioned into Shot Put and Javelin.

In Junior High he participated in the 100m, 200m, Shot Put, Javelin and Discus! In Grade 10, as part of a special track team, Darren switched his focus to the throwing events, then eventually solely on Javelin. In grade 10, he won the Alberta Championships with a throw just under 42m and earned the right to be part of Team Alberta. He competed Nationally in Sudbury, Ontario and attended a throws clinic. By the end of that summer he was throwing over 50 meters and had a pair of spiffy red javelin boots! In Grade 11, he was the ASAA Javelin champion and once again went on to win the Alberta Championship and participate in the National Competition in Banff, Ab.

Darren completed his Ed. degree in 1996 and has now taught in three different school divisions, and in Medicine Hat for 20 years! He is currently a teacher at MHHS, coaches football, wrestling (both at an elementary and high school level) and Track throwing events.

Darren coached the 2018 Indoor Winter session with the Panthers, introducing the athletes to throwing and strength training. He will be joining us at the outdoor track in the spring!


Brent Friesen is an Inter-provincial Red Seal Journeyman Carpenter specializing in woodworking and finish carpentry and has been self-employed for almost 20 years.

Brent played various sports in school but excelled at shot put and discus. He won gold in shot put at the Saskatchewan Provincials for three years in a row in (1977-79) and advanced to the Saskatchewan Summer Games where we won gold in both shot put and discus events. The following year, he competed at the Canada Summer Games placing 5th as well as Nationals, placing 8th overall.

Brent enjoys coaching and has assisted and head-coached a variety of his twin sons’ minor sports in Medicine Hat including baseball, hockey, and football over the past 7 years. Brent enjoys all sports but still has a passion for track and field.

OLIVIA HUNTER – Assistant Coach

Olivia graduated from MHHS in 2017 and is looking towards furthering her education by going into the education program. She has a huge passion for the sport of running. She has been competing and training in cross country for 4 years and track and field for 6 years. Olivia competed at the provincial level for both, competing in 4km runs for cross country and 3000m and 1500m for track and field. Most of her training was with the coaches at Medicine Hat high school as well as 1 year training with the Panthers in the winter program of 2016. A track highlight would be winning the 4A banner with MHHS teammates at provincials for track and field Spring of 2017. Olivia loves working with kids and can’t wait to have a wonderful season coaching them.

MIKE GURSKI – Assistant Coach

Mike is originally from Swift Current, and has been living and going to school in Medicine Hat for the last 3 years. He is in the Education program at the MHC, and plays for the Rattlers Men’s soccer team; having played soccer his entire life. He also has a long history of coaching – youth soccer head coach and assistant at just about every age level. Mike loves sport and wellness not only for the competitive aspect, but also as a great opportunity for personal growth. He is looking forward to continue his coaching with the Panthers Track Club.

SHENAI WAGNER – Assistant Coach

Shenai is currently a personal trainer at a local gym and has had 8 years of coaching experience in a variety of different sports including track and field. She has competed in track at a provincial level for long jump and triple jump. She completed 4 years of kinesiology/education at the University of Lethbridge and has obtained coaching certification as well.
Aside from team sports she enjoys snowboarding and interior design! Shenai enjoys working with children and is very excited to share her passion for the sport with the Panthers track club.


Samantha began competing in cross-country running and track & field in Junior High School. After winning her very first cross-country race in Grade 7, she continued to finish top 2 in Zones each year thereafter. When training with the MHHS track team she competed in the 1500m, 3000m, triple jump, and 4x400m relay at the Provincial level. Her best finishes were 4th and 5th in the 3000m and 1500m races, respectively.

In addition to running, Samantha competed Provincially in ringette, soccer, and badminton. She not only achieved success with her teams, but also medalled as an individual in badminton – bronze in Intermediate Girls Tier II, then 4th in Senior Girls Tier I. Running gave Samantha the ability to excel in many sports, and was named MHHS Female Athlete of the year in Grades 11 and 12. Following high school, she continued with college soccer and ringette, and began competing in CrossFit competitions.

Samantha holds a BSc degree, is a Certified CrossFit Level  1 Trainer, and a Certified Fitness Trainer. As a coach, she strives to strengthen the foundational properties of athletic movement which sport-specific skills can be built upon. Her goal is to increase fitness and reduce the risk of injury by applying cross-training strategies for athletes of all sports.

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