BC Athletics is getting set to honour its best performers from 2019, and a handful of Surrey athletes – and one longtime coach – are among those being recognized.
Since the start of the new year, the provincial association – which governs track and field and cross-country – has been slowly announcing award nominees in various categories, in advance of the annual awards banquet, which is set for Feb. 1 in Richmond.
“It is interesting that over 30 per cent of the candidates are from the Surrey area – either Coastal or Ocean (Athletics) athletes,” said Coastal Track and Field coach Scott Kent.
“These two programs must be doing something right.”
In the category of 14-year-old female cross-country runner of the year, Ocean Athletics’ Mackenzie Hack is one of three contenders, along with West Vancouver’s Sidney Clement and Coquitlam’s Ella Madsen.
Two other Surrey runners – Coastal’s Hudson Irvine, who is an Earl Marriott Secondary student, and Ocean’s Caiden Lee – are nominated for the 14-year-old male cross-country runner of the year award, along with Cole Wheeler of Coquitlam.
Local clubs have two nominees in the 15-year-old division, too – Coastal’s Viviani Li and Ocean’s Abigail Yakemchuk.
Ocean Athletics’ Maya Kobylanski – who attends Southridge School and is set to run next year at the University of Idaho – is nominated in the U18 female cross-country runner of the year category, as is Madelyn Bonikowsky, who is a former Ocean Athletics member but now lives in the Kootenays and runs for the Kootenay Chaos Track Club.
Earlier this month, Kobylanski was the top female finisher at the Resolution Run in Crescent Park.
The overall winner of the Resolution Run was Coastal club member, and Earl Marriott student, Jeremiah Mackie, and he finds himself up for a BC Athletics award as well, in the U18 male cross-country runner of the year category.
He’ll face some stiff competition, however, from Coastal teammate Jaiveer Tiwana, who won the U18 men’s cross-country race at Canadian championships back on Nov. 30. The third nominee in the category is Jacob Wadhwani of the Langley Mustangs.
In the U20 men’s runner-of-the-year race, Earl Marriott grad Jaxon Mackie – older brother of Jeremiah – is one of three nominees, alongside Coastal’s Aiden Miller.
In the senior male cross-country runner-of-the year category, Elgin Park Secondary grad – and Canadian Olympian – Luc Bruchet is a finalist.
Bruchet, who competed in the 5,000-m at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, most recently finished second at Canadian championships. He won the event in 2018 and ’17.
Rounding out the local contingent at the Feb. 1 awards banquet will be longtime South Surrey coach and official Dave Short, who is being honoured with the Ralph Coates Award for longstanding service.
Short has been a mainstay at local track and cross-country events for years, and is a former coach at teacher at Earl Marriott Secondary.