The largest competition for young athletes in the province of British Columbia took place July 21st to 24th in Abbotsford, B.C. The 2016 BC Summer Games welcomed 2,754 athletes to compete in 18 sports. This year, the Columbia Valley was represented by four athletes in track, golf and swimming competitions. For 14-year-old Alexandra Schaal, competing at the Summer Games was her second chance.
“Our (school) team went to two track meets, but Iwasn’t able to attend the one to qualify for BC Games. All my teammates, they went to Trail. Depending on your times you can qualify for the Games, but I wasn’t there. Then we went to the Cranbrook EK’s and I was scouted by the BC Games coach. So he asked me to join their team, the BC Game team. It was really exciting to be asked,” said Schaal.
Being asked to join the Summer Games team gave Schaal more drive to prove herself in her events.
“I felt like there was a lot of not pressure, but just being asked, I felt like I had to step up a bit more just to raise the bar,” said Schaal.
At the BC Summer Games, she competed in the 100-metre sprint,200-metre sprint, and the 100-metre relay. Schaal placed top 15 in all her events, earning third in her heat for 100 m and 11th overall, fourth in her 200 m heat and 12th overall. While her 100 m relay team placed fifth, the team was made up of athletes who had never trained together.
“No one had known each other so we didn’t really know how, when one another was going to take the
baton or how we were going to communicate between each other since we just met. So we did quite a bit of
practising of handoffs, the timing, when to pass the baton and, in the end,it turned out pretty good,” said Schaal.
Her most memorable race of the competition was the 200 m sprint where she learned the importance of endurance.
“I was in the lead just around the corner and still in the lead in the straight stretch, but then just lost my strength at the last moment and the people caught up. It was kind of a realization, I guess. Endurance could’ve worked better than power just 100 per cent all the way through,” said Schaal.
In preparation for the BC Summer Games, Schaal had many early morning trainings with partner Johnny and coach Cory Stanbury to work on strength,endurance, and sprints.
“We went to the track practice with the blocks, we did a lot of workouts, also we ran early in the morning sprints, long distance, just training for endurance and the strength we needed,” said Schaal.
The other athletes from the Columbia Valley included Jonathan Postlethwaite, Tyler Powell, and Taylor Lightfoot, each representing the valley in their respective sports. Postlethwaite competed in track and placed top 15 in 100 m, 200 m, discus and sixth in the 100 m relay. Tyler Powell competed in golf and placed 31st overall. Taylor Lightfoot competed in swimming, earning herself 39th in 400 m and 800 m as well as top 15 in the 50 m free relay and 50 m medley relay. For Alexandra Schaal, she will continue to race next season and will work towards being scouted again for larger competitions.