The UBC Okanagan Heat cross country team will open their season this weekend heading to Seattle and the University of Washington campus to run in the Huskie hosted Sundodger open. Race is on Saturday, September 14 in Lincoln Park.
Cross country at UBC’s Okanagan campus has rapidly grown over the last three years, particularly under the guidance of coaches Nikki and Nate Reiter, who have recruited some high achieving student athletes over time to the trails with them.
A few notable new members to the squad are:
This seventeen year old high school track athlete from Strathcona-Tweedsmuir in Calgary, Alberta has “tremendous ‘untapped potential’”, according to her previous coach Christine Laverty with CALTAF. She has posted a 2:28 800m and 5:20 1500m as personal records.
“With the times that Kendall has already posted this spring in track, we look for Kendall to hold a key spot in our lineup this fall,” said Heat coach Nikki Reiter.
Seasons enrolled at UBC’s Okanagan campus with the plan of pursuing a degree in Psychology, and is excited to be a part of its community atmosphere. “I chose UBCO because it is a smaller school, which allows for more of a community feeling,” she has said of the campus. “Also, the campus is very beautiful!”
From up north in Yellowknife, NWT, Julianna Neudorf is excited for the opportunity to pursue her passion for running in the Okanagan come this fall. “I have been told that Kelowna has a great climate for year round running, with many great trails,” she said, adding jokingly that it would be a nice change from the -40 degrees in Yellowknife.
Formerly running for the NWT Storm, she holds personal records of 2:35 in the 800m, 5:17 in the 1500m on the track and 19:51 for the 5km XC distance. “Look for Julianna to slowly progress to be amongst the top of the women’s squad.”
Neudorf will pursue an engineering degree during her time at UBC Okanagan, citing both the excellence of the program and the opportunity to be a part of the Heat cross country team as being major factors in her decision to come to the Okanagan after high school.
Sandra “Killer” Kilmartin, as she has been affectionately nicknamed in the past, has been something of a surprise during her time training with the team thus far. From Salmon Arm Secondary in Salmon Arm, BC, the twenty-year old has posted a 1:39:59 half-marathon PR. More impressive is her 3000m time of 11:35.
Watch out for ‘Killer Kilmartin’ who has been a downright surprise this summer being able to post some great times with very little training under her belt,” Heat coach Nikki Reiter said of Sandra. “We hope that Sandy will be able to remain injury-free and continue to improve all season long.”
Kilmartin has entered the Bachelor of Science program at UBC’s Okanagan campus this fall, and is happy to attend a “great university that is close to home.”
These three girls will join Michelle Blackburne (West Kelowna, BC), a 2012 CCAA All-Canadian, and Alea Stockton (Yellowknife, NT), a participant of this past summer’s Canada Games, both coming back to train and run for the Heat. Anna Merino (Calgary, AB), Trish Metro (Summerland, BC), and Emily Millard (Foxboro, ON) round out the squad for the women.
Six males tried out and ran well enough to make the squad, three new to the Heat and three returning runners. Alex Hansen (London, ON), Jared Kesteven (Mission, BC), and Layne Richardson (Summerland, BC) are the three racing for UBC Okanagan for a second year. Cailan Libby (Golden, BC), Nick MacLean (Quesnel, BC), and MacKenzie Wong (Vancouver, BC) are the new members.