Kamloops, BC—The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack cross country team is the latest team to go to the City of Vernon, BC to pick up a recruit.
Following in the footsteps of the TRU soccer and basketball programs, head coach Carmin Mazzotta is pleased to announce that Samantha Loewen of Vernon Secondary has committed for the 2017-18 Canada West season.
Loewen is 5’5” and helped VSS to the North Zone championship in 2016. She is also a club runner for the Vernon Amateur Athletics Association.
“I think running at the Canada West level will be an exciting experience,” she says. Loewen will be taking courses aimed at achieving a Bachelor of Arts degree at Thompson Rivers.
Mark Bendall is the cross country coach at Vernon Secondary: “I have known Sam since grade eight (2012-13). I recruited her into our running program because I was aware that she was a dedicated ski racer. As long as I have known her, she has had a great work ethic and motivation to do her best. As she has grown physically stronger she has also gained the mental toughness needed to succeed. There aren’t many students, in my experience, who seek out competitions outside of the school and club environments (at distances of 8, 10 and 21 kilometers). Samantha has regularly represented our school at all of our regular season meets, and zone and valley championships, and in doing so earned herself Provincial Championship berths.”
While John Machuga has been her club coach for the last two years: “She came to my program as a hard worker with good strength and tremendous endurance. Over the last two years, she has developed a lot of speed. I believe she will become one of the best runners at TRU. She has been a leader on the VAAA team. She is the kind of athlete that others gravitate towards. I have noticed a significant increase in both the numbers and quality of athletes in the training group since she arrived. While several athletes followed her into the group. Those that were already here have felt more comfortable about working hard based on her example.”
She won the VSS Cross Country team “Most Dedicated Award” in grade 10 (2014-15) and qualified for the provincial championships for four straight years (Grade 9-12). This season she was 12th among senior girls at the Okanagan zone cross country championships and was 93rd at the Provincial championships.
In 2016, she finished first overall in the “Dirty Feet” Series of races.
“Running is my absolute favorite pastime, “Loewen adds. “ I am very happy to be able to continue training for the sport throughout university.
Says coach Mazzotta: “Coach John Machuga has really built something special at the high school level in the Okanagan. In 2016/17, we had Liam McGrath, another of John’s athletes, join the men’s squad, and this fall, we will have Sam Loewen come be a part of our women’s program. Sam has a positive attitude and is motivated to train — she will fit right in and should be able to contribute in her first season. With Rachel Lobay (Kelowna, BC) , Zoe Painter (Whitehorse, YK) , Emily Atherton (Victoria, BC), Erica Johnson (Abbotsford, BC) and others returning, we have a strong core on our women’s team and Sam will only add to this.”
Loewen becomes the third Vernon area athlete to commit to the WolfPack athletic program for 2017-18 joining basketball player Megan Rouault (Vernon Secondary) and soccer player Scott Cramer (Vernon Christian School).