Cate continues busy summer at Speed River twilight meet

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – Sean Cate of Guelph’s Speed River Track and Field Club continued his busy summer of competition Tuesday night when he won the men’s high jump at his club’s fourth and final twilight meet of the season at Alumni Stadium.

That he won was no surprise at all as all but one of his fellow competitors had bowed out before he made his first attempt. That meant that for most of his time jumping, he was the only competitor left and that can be a difficult thing. He bowed out at 2.05 metres.

“It’s always a good time when we come to Guelph,” he said. “It can be difficult when you’re jumping alone, but it’s something that we’ve learned to move from a glorified practice to an actual competition. It didn’t quite go the way we were planning – 2.05 (metres) is something that I definitely know I’m capable of. Coach and I had bigger plans, but it’s another brick in the wall kind of things. We’re going to get there, it’s just a matter of when.”

When you’re the last jumper standing, you can take as much as three minutes in between jumps.

“You kind of bridge this gap with ‘Well, OK, I can rest my legs.’ But how long is too long to wait or you start to get cold,” he said. “It’s a little fresh out today, so you’ve got to strike that balance somehow. I didn’t think I was running into an issue today with my legs getting tired. I’ve got some approach work to hammer out, but it’s definitely an art trying to figure it out and I’m on my way to learning it.”

Cate cleared 2.05 to place third in the Provincials in June and 2.16 to place third in the Nationals early in July. In June, he cleared 2.18 to finish fourth in the Nathan Phillips Square Track and Field Takeover Meet that also featured jumpers from the U.S. and Bahamas.

“I was by far the least qualified, for lack of a better word, to be there,” he said. “You’re jumping against world-class athletes and that’s really what we’re pursuing.

“It’s been a full season, back-to-back, but I love it. It’s better than training, for sure.”

Now 24, the Georgetown native has completed his studies as the University of Guelph and he’s used up all five years of his university track and field eligibility.

“Five years have blown by,” he said. “I’ve been here for six, I didn’t compete my first year. Looking back, it’s been a long time, but it flies by.”

Cate originally came to the U of G to play basketball, but switched to track and field his first year on campus.

“There’s so much to look back on,” he said. “I always look back on 2.19 in Windsor, that was 2016. That was a big deal.”

But that doesn’t top his list of memories with the Gryphon team.

“Highlights, the vanity in me wants to say winning my second national title back-to-back as an individual athlete, but truth be told, it was probably this past year,” he said. “I didn’t do what I wanted to do as an athlete, but having the Guelph Gryphons complete a full sweep – Provincials and Nationals – 10 years after we did it the last time, it’s something. It’s really something. I think as a unit, that was probably the best thing we’ve accomplished since I’ve been here.”

Now it’s on to the next phase of his life, both his athletics life and his work life.

“I am done as a student and I am done as a student-athlete. It’s a bit of a culture shock. It’s a very big culture shock,” he said. “This is going to be the first September since I was 3 that I’m not going to school. It’s going to be interesting, for sure.”