Rebecca Haworth: Raising the bar for student‑athletes

- January 29, 2014

Rebecca Haworth doesn't just clear the bar in high jump, she excels in everything she does, especially in being a student-athlete.
Rebecca Haworth doesn't just clear the bar in high jump, she excels in everything she does, especially in being a student-athlete.

Tigers high jumper Rebecca Haworth is the true embodiment of what a student-athlete is supposed to be. She’s won the AUS championship in each of her first three years, and placed fourth at the CIS championship last year. She’s a two-time winner of the Dalhousie President’s Award, which recognizes an individual who best combines academics, leadership and fair play.

This level of success would go to many people’s heads. But within minutes of meeting Haworth, you’ll quickly realize that she’s one of the most grounded, humble and kind people at Dalhousie.

Her days start at 8:00 a.m. and don’t end until midnight. And no, there usually isn’t even a single hour of Netflix in there. The phrase “day off” is not in her vocabulary.

The Waverley, N.S. native grew up with a strong background in both academics and athletics. At the top of her class and coming off a NSSAF Provincial Championship gold medal in high jump (1.68m), Haworth had plenty of offers from CIS schools across the country, as well as multiple offers from Division I schools south of the border.

While the thought of competing in the NCAA was enticing, it was the combination of academics and athletics that kept Haworth close to home.

“The coaching staff, the other athletes and the fact that I could pursue a strong academic career with strong research capabilities really brought me to Dal,” says Haworth.

And the Tigers welcomed her with open arms. She came to university with the lofty goal of setting a new AUS high jump record in her first year.

Meeting (and beating) expectations

It wasn’t all smooth sailing to begin with, however, as she failed to live up to her own expectations in the first meet of her university career.

“I jumped a 1.50m, which is worse than I did in grade nine,” adds Haworth. “After that I took a couple weeks off, and questioned if I wanted to do track anymore.”

Through this process, Haworth’s teammates and coaching helped her push through the struggles, enabling her to focus on the bigger picture and not worry about early season stumbles. She came back ready to fight for her goals and accomplish what she had set out to do.

Well wouldn’t you know, she did it, jumping 1.71m in just her first year of competition. She also recently just broke the Dalhousie record with a 1.77m jump at the 2014 McGill Team Challenge, which ranks her second in the CIS.

Making a difference

Considering this dedication to her sport, you might think that her focus was solely on track. That’s not the case, as she excelled academically early on and got her first of three CIS Academic All-Canadian honours for her excellence in the classroom.

Haworth began volunteering at the IWK Health Centre in her second year, working with Dr. Jill Chorney and Dr. Paul Hong in the centre for pediatric pain. Her volunteering led to her being awarded an IWK student grant in the summer after her second year, which she used to run a research study looking at children’s memory of anesthesia induction. She received another grant this past summer that helped her start her honours research, which looks at how parents make decisions about their children’s ENT (ears, nose and throat) surgery.

Throughout all this, the Tigers Varsity Council co-president also started the Special Tigers program in 2012, which has been hugely successful in helping athletes with mental disabilities connect with current Dalhousie Tigers athletes. Haworth is also coaching the team Nova Scotia track and field Special Olympics team this summer.

It’s impossible to narrow down one thing Rebecca Haworth will be remembered for once her illustrious career with Dalhousie is done. Haworth’s high level of dedication and drive is admirable for any student here at Dalhousie, and helps show that if you want something, you need to go out and get it.

It’s uncommon that someone can be so modest and down to earth with a resume like hers, but she pulls it off. She is proud to don the black and gold as a member of the Tigers, and Dalhousie University and the rest of the Tigers are certainly equally as proud to have such a great individual with them for the past four years.

Going forward, she’s hoping to complete her lifelong goal of going to medical school and hasjust finished her interview with the Dalhousie Medical School. She applied to other universities as well, and would love to use her fifth year of eligibility, but she says there’s no way she’d represent anyone other than the black and gold.


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