Whitehorse varsity athlete Skyler Bryant is trading the pitch for the track, joining his second varsity team at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
Bryant, who just finished his first season with the Dalhousie Tigers soccer team on an academic scholarship, will now be a sprinter for the school’s track team.
“Basically my soccer coach talks to the track coach every year and gives him a suggestion for his fastest player on the team and he suggested me,” Bryant explained.
“Once our soccer season was over I met up with the track coach to run some top speed trials to see if I was fast enough for them to work with and I was.”
Needing another member of the 4 x 200 metre relay team, Bryant said he will be joining the team for that event and will also compete in the 60 and 200 metre sprints for the indoor track season.
In the 18-year-old striker’s first season with the Tigers, Bryant played in seven games and started two.
“We finished lower than we probably would have liked to or should have,” Bryant said.
“Personally I felt I learned a lot throughout the season and actually got to start two games at the end of the season which is awesome.”
The Tigers finished the Atlantic University Sport season with a record of 4-6-2 losing their last five games and ending the season out of a playoff spot.
The move across the country has been a big jump for the longtime soccer player who played for the Yukon Strikers at three national championships and captained the Yukon at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games, finishing in fifth place, and the recent 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg where the team placed 10th.
Bryant also grew up playing in the Total Soccer Excellence Academy under Jake Hanson, which he joined at the age of 12.
“Obviously it’s a big jump, but Halifax doesn’t feel like too much of jump up I guess, compared to being around maybe Vancouver or Edmonton,” he said. “It has a smaller community feel to it, especially being on campus.”
Bryant was also named Yukon futsal player of the year in 2016 and played for the Yukon team at the 2014 Arctic Winter Games.
But that won’t be the winter sport focus this year for the kinesiology major.
The team is on the track four times a week preparing for the upcoming season, Bryant said, practising their sprint disciplines for an hour before hitting the weight room.
Bryant said the main challenge for him is the change in sports and their running styles.
“It is a totally different adjustment going from running styles for soccer to track and trying to switch your mentality,” he said. “That’s kind of what I’m trying to work through right now but it’s going well.”
But this isn’t the first time on the track for Bryant who competed in track and field for F.H. Collins Secondary School and also trained with the Yukon track and field team.
Meets will begin for the team after the second semester starts in January, Bryant said, with several open meets as well as a team challenge against McGill at the end of January before the conference championships in Moncton, N.B. Feb. 23-24.
The university national championships will be held in Windsor, Ont. from March 8-10.