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

Head Coach: SONYA BROWN

Sonya works as Health Promotion Coordinator with Alberta Health Services. She loves working with schools to build healthy school communities and helping build healthier children and youth.

Sonya was a competitive figure skater and track athlete for many years. Upon graduation from high school, Sonya wanted to give back to the two sports that taught her so much through the years. She became certified through the National Coaching Certification Program and started coaching both figure skating and track and field – she is currently the head coach with the Medicine Hat Track & Field Club. Not only can Sonya deliver her expertise in the areas of sprinting and jumps, she also works hard with her athletes off the track by developing training programs and weekly workouts for her athletes.

In her spare time, Sonya enjoys training and competing in CrossFit with her husband doing anything that will keep her active.

JASMIN SJODIN – Assistant Coach/Head Coach Thursday

Jasmin is an energetic, active, and approachable individual. Within her Career & Employment Advisor role with the YMCA Employment Centre, she has had the opportunity to connect with several 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 very young age and is excited to give back to the sport and share her knowledge and passion while assisting the athletes for the Panthers track and field team.

AUSTIN DORN – SEASONAL OUTDOOR COACH

Austin is a grade twelve student at McCoy High School. He started his track and field involvement at the age of 12 with the Panthers club, being coached by both Sonya Brown and Sage Watson.  His accomplishments to date include attending the Alberta Summer Games for 3 consecutive years in Lethbridge, Airdrie and Leduc – one year as an underage athlete.  Also attending Legion Nationals in Langley, BC and earning a spot on Team Alberta for 2 consecutive years for Western Canada championships in Saskatoon and Winnipeg. Besides many ribbons received in school track, some major awards include achieving two silvers at Westerns, a silver and bronze at provincial championships and a silver at Alberta Summer Games. He is pursuing a future career in pharmacy and is looking forward to coaching with the Panthers Track Club.

CHELSEA KLECKNER – SEASONAL OUTDOOR COACH

Chelsea is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Lethbridge working towards a Bachelor of Science with a major in Kinesiology. Chelsea will be working with sprinters and jumpers this season and is especially looking forward to working with Panther athletes on goal setting and imagery, as well as other mental skills to improve their game. Chelsea loves meeting new people in the track and field community and participated as a coach for the Medicine Hat High School team in 2016, as she competed for the team at Provincials in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and Long Jump in 2013, 2014, and 2015. On of her favourite track memories was winning 4A provincials with her team in 2013 and would love to see another Medicine hat team take the title this year. She can often be seen around the Medicine Hat Rotary Track volunteering at meets, handing out ribbons or marshalling, as she has a passion for the Track and Field Community. Aside from coaching, she is working towards becoming a Grade I Track Official this year, has a passion for food and is running her first half-marathon in May!

BRENT FRIESEN – THROWS COACH

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.

RICKI CHRISTOPHER – Assistant Coach

Ricki competed on the University of Regina Cougars track team for three years. She was a competitive athlete, and competed in Canada West. She now races for the SAIT Trojans in the ACAC and CCAA conferences. Last year she placed top 5 at cross country provincials, earning a spot at Nationals in Salute Sainte Marie where she placed top 16. She also competed in Track where she got two silver medals at provincials.

Ricki is currently taking her clinical practicum in Medicine Hat for Medical Radiologic Technology. This 2017 season she placed silver at cross country provincials and is preparing for Nationals this November. Her commitment to the sport and experience will be very beneficial to the Panthers athletes.

SAMANTHA HENDERSON – Assistant Coach


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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