Valkyries alum Stalwick sprinting for success

As the Saskatoon Valkyries have contributed towards an exceptional legacy of elite female sport in the province of Saskatchewan, the women who have donned the team colors are just as influential. Among such women is Amanda Stalwick, a very swift sprinting sensation and all-around talented athlete whose efforts helped contribute towards the dynasty of four straight WWCFL titles.

While Stalwick is among a growing number of accomplished alums with the Valkyries, whose experience makes her a role model for younger players; her efforts off the gridiron have taken on a legendary luster. With an athletic background that consisted of competition in a number of demanding physical races, including the grueling triathlon (she also sits as a board member for the Saskatchewan Triathlon Association), the ultimate measure of an athlete’s endurance, Stalwick returned to track in the aftermath of the Valkyries 2015 season.

Since returning to the track, the results have spoken for themselves. Establishing herself as one of the finest sprinters at the national level among her age group, Stalwick will have the opportunity to shine on an even bigger stage, qualifying for the World Master’s Games. In addition, Stalwick holds the provincial records in her native Saskatchewan in her age group for all three of her disciplines; 50m – 7:23, 60m – 8:44, 200m – 28:29.

Highly educated, Stalwick holds three degrees, highlighted by a Masters of Education from the University of Saskatchewan. Her love of fitness has also extended into her career. As a personal trainer with certification from CanFitPro, where her entrepreneurial spirit has resulted in the formation of Positively Fit Personal Training, where her strong interpersonal skills and desire for peak physical conditioning are looking to bring the best out of others.

“Representing Canada at the World Master’s Championships is a dream come true! When I came back to the track in the fall of 2015, I didn’t know where I’d be at after many years of distance and triathlons. I’d thought about the World Master Championships, but I didn’t know how competitive I’d be on the national level let alone an international level and I’m thrilled that I’m running well enough to be competitive on the World stage!”

As the number one ranked runner in the 50m, 60m, and 200m races, Stalwick has emerged as a force on the track, presenting Canada with a great chance to achieve a podium finish in each of these races. While Stalwick is humble about such success, she is quick to acknowledge that the secret towards achieving her successful pinnacle is attributed to a solid work ethic that has helped propel her into a world-class competitor,

”Running has always come natural to me; however, after 25 years of doing distance races including 10kms, marathons, and Ironman triathlons I was not sure if I would still have that spark and fast twitch when I went back to running short distances.

Having said that, I think part of the secret, which really is not a secret at all, is my prior experience as a track athlete, consistency getting in lifts at the gym, and showing up and working hard. I grew up running track and you just did not ditch workouts, and I have had that work ethic, commitment, and sense of responsibility my entire life no matter what I’ve committed myself to. Likewise, I’ve never “drank the punch” or thought of myself as too old to do anything. You get better with age…right?”

Akin to swimmer Dara Torres, who competed at the Summer Games at the age of 41, becoming the first American swimmer to compete in five different Summer Games competitions, Stalwick has that same empowering spirit that is destined to make her an inspiration for Prairie women of all ages. Through it all, Stalwick is quick to acknowledge that despite her individual success, there is a remarkable team effort, acknowledging the support network that has helped achieve her ambitious dreams,

”Overall, I have been very lucky to be surrounded by supportive and knowledgeable people. Including my eagle-eye track coach Dale Upton, my lifting coaches at Ignite Conditioning who took me from a distance runner and moulded me back into a sprinter, my husband Gary who is always by side, and my active and health conscious mom who has been a great role model for me. They’ve all encouraged and supported me, given freely of their talents and time, and saw my potential and for that I will be forever grateful.”

While the self-discipline required to excel as an athlete truly separates the champions from the contenders, a key aspect towards Stalwick’s confidence and her ability to become an even better athlete can also be attributed to her many successful seasons with the Valkyries. Through patience, a willingness to learn and the commitment to buy into a team-first approach, such values were all key factors in transforming Stalwick into more than just an elite athlete, but a leader,

”Yes, my time with the Valkyries definitely made me a better all around athlete! Being a football player requires mental toughness, physical strength and stamina, agility and with-it-ness.

It definitely made me more in the moment whether I was practicing or playing a game because nobody wants to make mistakes on the field or let their team down. If I got a penalty or did something wrong it was devastating for me, but it was also a good lesson to learn from and as a result I feel I am better equipped me to deal with feedback, chaos, and stressful situations.

In addition, it also taught me the importance of working as a team and communicating clearly with teammates and coaches. You never know when an injury can take you out of the game, which it did a few times, and with that come the reinforcement to live in the moment and work hard today. Hard work pays off and tomorrow is never a sure thing!”

Although the Valkyries have successfully recruited many new faces over the last two seasons, Stalwick’s veteran presence sets a positive example for the newer players to emulate. Her maturity and philosophical outlook towards the game and the experiences of being an athlete reflect an acumen that is acquired through more than hard work, but the belief shown in her by others. Recognizing the support of the Valkyries coaching staff, their belief translate into motivation, serving as a positive influence, setting the stage for Stalwick to pay it forward with her own example of hard work.

”The Valkyries head coach Jeff Yausie was very helpful when I initially started practicing and playing with the Valkyries. I didn’t join the team with a friend nor did I know anyone when I first started playing.

He made an effort to give me feedback, explain things, and help me feel like I belonged. Likewise, Pat Barry, the defensive back coach, was great at giving feedback, being supportive, and bringing out the best in me.

After practice, we always had 10-15 minutes of conditioning known as ICE which required lots of interval running, squat pops, and core. He doesn’t know this, but in my heart pounding, legs burning, and chest exploding state I could always hear him encouraging me on the sidelines and I am very grateful for that!”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

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