June 22nd, 2024

Steacy goes the distance into Pronghorn Hall of Fame

By Dale Woodard on January 28, 2022.

Jim Steacy is going into the University of Lethbridge Pronghorn Hall of Fame in the athlete category.

Judging by the way the southern Alberta track and field athlete rewrote the Canada West record books in his five years with the Pronghorns, the argument could be made there should be an author category for Steacy as well.

Either way, on Saturday night at the 1st Choice Savings Centre, Steacy’s name went up among the Pronghorns best as he was named to the hall alongside Danny Balderson – also in the athlete category – and the 1985-86 Pronghorns women’s basketball team in the team category.

“It’s hard to believe,” said Steacy, who also went on to become a two-time Olympian. “I was fortunate enough to start competing with the U of L. I had the opportunity to go to the States and compete in the NCAA, but I chose to stay home and train and compete under (Pronghorns’ track and field coach) Larry Steinke. It was probably the best decision I ever made, especially from an athletic standpoint. I wouldn’t change a thing and to be honoured with the 1985-86 women’s basketball team and Danny Balderson, it’s unreal.”

Steacy joined the program in the fall of 2002 and was immediately a force in the throwing circle, winning the Canada West and CIS weight throw titles as a freshman.

Over his five competitive seasons – 2002-05, 2006-07 and 2008-09 – Steacy went undefeated in the weight throw (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009) winning both the Canada West and CIS events each year. He also broke the conference and national record every season.

He didn’t just make his mark in the weight throw.

Steacy also earned four conference and national shot-put medals, including a three-year run as the throws king in the CIS.

In the 2005, 2007 and 2009 Canada West and CIS track seasons, Steacy won gold in both weight and shot-put events.

Understandably, the U of L accolades followed.

Steacy was named the Pronghorn Male Athlete of the Year in all five of his seasons.

He was also a three-time CIS Field Athlete of the Year (2004, 2005, 2007), five-time Canada West Field Athlete of the Year and the 2003 Canada West and CIS Rookie of the Year.

Steacy also won the 2007 Canada West Student-Athlete and Community award.

That penchant for going for distance has landed Steacy among the Pronghorns elite.

“I remember looking at the old plaques for the Hall of Fame and recognizing a few of the names as teachers or coaches around town,” he said. “I never thought my name would be in there. So it’s a huge honour and something I’m very proud of.”

When he wasn’t wearing Pronghorn colours, Steacy donned the Maple Leaf, representing Canada twice at the Olympics in 2008 in Beijing and in 2012 in London.

He also represented Canada at the World Championships, Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games – winning gold in the hammer throw – Francophone Games and Universiade, where he was a silver medalist in the hammer throw.

Steacy was also a two-time Commonwealth Games medalist in 2006 (silver) and 2014 (gold) and a Pan American Junior Championship gold medalist in 2003.

He is still the Canadian record holder in the hammer throw at 79.13 meters.

But Steacy’s most cherished memory with the Pronghorns is a team one, looking back on the 2004 season when the men’s track and field team won a bronze medal at the national championship.

“For a school and a program of this size to go and butt heads with some of the bigger programs in the country and to come out with a bronze medal as a team, that to me is the pinnacle,” said Steacy. “To be a part of such a quality group of guys and to have that success as a group, that, to me, is my highlight.”

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