Swift Current’s Scott Joseph had modest goals during his rookie season with the University of Regina Cougars track and field team, but somewhere along the line he hit his stride and defied all reasonable expectations.
“The season went very well honestly. It wasn’t what I was expecting. I was just expecting to probably do a personal best and just follow along what my coaches were telling me to do.”
Joseph capped a decorated rookie season with a national title and national record at the U SPORTS Track and Field championship in Edmonton on March 6. The Regina Cougars rookie won the men’s long jump handily with a top jump of 7.73 metres.
“I’m still shocked right now, still in shock. I was not expecting to jump that far. I was just looking for a far jump. That last jump that I had I did not know it was going to be 7.73, I thought it was going to be around 7.60, 7.50.”
His final jump of the season established a new Canadian indoor U20 record, eclipsing the 1975 record of Toronto’s James McAndrew, which was 7.71 metres.
“I didn’t even know until one of my friends came up to me and was like ‘Oh did you know you broke the record?’ I was like ‘What are you talking about.’ He said, ‘You broke the Canadian record!’ I was just in shock. I am really happy about it. It was a really good jump too.”
The jump of 7.73 metres, even 10 days later, was the top U20 jump in the world during the 2019-20 season.
Joseph’s incredible debut season was further punctuated when he was named the Canada West and U Sports Male Rookie of the Year.
“Getting those awards really is an amazing feeling, honestly it’s incredible. Just looking back at it I was like wow, I really did do this, I really put all I can to achieve all these amazing awards. I am very humbled about it too.”
Joseph was born in Niger and moved to Canada in 2011. His family eventually settled in Swift Current and he competed for the Swift Current Comprehensive High School in grades 10, 11, and 12 filling his trophy cabinet at SHSAA Provincials, the Tri Province Meet, and the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games in Swift Current.
Joseph said his rookie season just seemed to go smoothly on the track as he picked up momentum along the way.
“When I started having good results I started seeing some changes in my runway, everything just became really consistent, so that was really good. Usually we practice runways the most in practice, so it was just doing that over and over so you just get more consistent on the runway, so then you don’t have to change much when I do something bad, just adjust it a little bit.”
Joseph also took part in the triple jump at nationals, placing 12th with a top jump of 13.13 metres. It wasn’t that long ago that Joseph and his high school coaches considered the triple jump his top event.
“Long jump is going better for me. I still love triple jump, but it seems long jump is the one I am excelling the most in… I still like triple jump though.”
He said he still hopes to make considerable improvements in the triple jump.
“I still think I can. I just need more training, more time just to get more technique with triple jump.”
Joseph has garnered additional attention in Regina and the province since bursting onto the national scene with the Cougars.
“I would say the media the most. It’s not something that I really like, it’s not me I guess. I don’t mind it, but it’s not something that I would do… I guess it comes with all this I guess. One of the main things is the kids. One of the kids texted me and said ‘I really look up to you.’ So that’s one thing that really hit me the most.”
Joseph still has his eyes on bigger goals in 2020. He will likely attend outdoor nationals in Montreal this summer and is hoping to qualify for the World U20 Championships in Kenya in July. Joseph is waiting to hear if his indoor results will qualify for Worlds or if he will have to qualify with outdoor results.
“In the past week I have been thinking about it and if I can jump like this and if there’s a possibility of me going far I might as well just keep going with it. If there’s any opportunities I can take I am willing to take it if I can go far just to see how far I can go,” said Joseph.