With only one year in the sport under her belt, Mission’s Liz Janze already has a bobsleigh provincial title.
Janze and her pilot Melissa Lowe captured the female Alberta provincial title on Feb. 21, to cap off a whirlwind debut year in the sport.
It all went down at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, and Janze pointed out that the track was unavailable for practice for two weeks following an after-hours unsupervised accident at the park that left two teens dead.
Janze and her partner trained elsewhere prior to the race and were expecting to race against at least three other female tandems, but when they arrived for the competition they were surprised to see they were the only female duo competing.
“I think we intimidated the competition,” she joked. “But we were more than happy to treat it as a professional race and give it our all. We treated it like any other race, and were focused and worked hard.”
Janze said she was happy with her performance at the provincials.
“We had personal best times for our push start time and down time on the track,” she said, of the race. “I was really happy with our hard work and it really paid off.”
Her role on the duo is brakeman, meaning she pushes as hard as possible off the line. Pilots do much of the steering, but brakemen must have speed and strength to get the bobsleigh going. Janze said winning provincials was the perfect way to end the season.
“I’m pretty proud of myself and it shows all the effort and hard work we’ve put in,” she said. “It’s great to win in my first season and it feels very rewarding to win provincials. It’s really left me hungry for more and hopefully I can make the next step to nationals.”
In order to do that, she has to perform well at national team testing camps this summer. If she does well at the first camp, she can then be invited to another camp and it is at that second camp that national team selections are made.
“I’m going to be training my butt off for the rest of the summer,” she said, noting she will hit the gym six to eight times a week.
Another goal for Janze and Lowe is to compete at the World Junior Bobsleigh Championships in Europe next season. The pair will fundraise this summer in order to potentially make the trip.
Her other looming desire is the chance to compete at the Olympics. She’s aiming to wear the maple leaf at either the 2018 or the 2022 Olympics.
Until then, it’s gym sessions and continuing to develop in her sophomore year in bobsleigh.