The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the careers of many athletes in Lacombe including Brock University Cross-Country Runner Jadon Bernatsky, who recently learned his final season would be cancelled due to the virus.
Despite the cancellation, Bernatsky — who is a multi-year Academic All-Canadian and the current President of the Brock Sport and Business Association – is a looking on the bright side.
“I have been extremely privileged to compete in university athletics for the last three years,” he said. “I travelled from Lacombe to Ontario and was able to compete and stay relatively healthy.
“My time there has been appreciated and I enjoyed all the years I had at Brock.”
Bernatsky, who got his start competitively running at Central Alberta Christian High School and who is entering his last year of a Sports Management degree, said he was disheartened to hear the news while he was training here in Lacombe but feels more disapointed for incoming varsity athletes who will be unable to compete next year.
Bernatsky, however did understand the reasoning behind the decision given that the nature of cross-country doesn’t allow for social distancing due to there being over 150 athletes competing at any given time.
“They have done a significant amount of research and they have looked at all of the different scenarios. There decision is final and I accept it. It is now about what do I do from here,” he said.
If he chooses to go on to post-graduate studies, Bernatsky would still have two years of eligibility left to compete. If he chooses to enter the workforce instead, he will have plenty of opportunities stemming from his experience as university athlete.
“Employers look to see if you are student athlete because you have a heavier workload, you can manage your time and you know how to push yourself,” he said.
He added he will continue to train and take part in Lacombe’s running community — where he got his start
“The running community in Lacombe is developed and grown to a point now where they are looking to install that track at the field,” he said.
“Darren George (Bernatsky’s former coach) is one of the people at the front of the running movement and it is nice to know that movement is still here.”
Overall, Bernatsky said he is looking forward.
“I am disheartened it was cancelled but at the same time I am happy to have the opportunity in the first place. I was fortunate enough to have had that experience to compete at a high level.”