VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes Cross Country and Track team will benefit from the new U SPORTS Female Apprenticeship Coach Program.
It was announced earlier on Thursday that former Vike, Kala Stone, was one of 18 former student-athletes named to the new coaching program.
“We’re really excited to have her working with our team. I know she will provide great leadership and has a passion for making others great,” said Vikes Cross Country and Track Head Coach Hilary Stellingwerff.
Stone last trained with the Vikes during the 2018-19 season after transferring from Arizona State University.
“I really excited for this opportunity to learn from Hilary. She has a terrific knowledge of what it’s like to work with athletes at the university level and I hope to pick up a lot from her,” said Stone, who graduated from UVic this spring with a degree in Kinesiology.
Funded through Sport Canada, the new program aims to increase the number of females in coaching positions across Canadian universities, by matching apprentice coaches who have recently graduated, with a mentor coach in one of the 11 U SPORTS-sanctioned sport offerings for women.
“We’re excited to officially launch the Female Apprentice Coach Program,” said Lisette Johnson-Stapley, Chief Sport Officer at U SPORTS. “As we all tackle the unprecedented challenges currently facing Canadian sport, this initiative will open new doors and provide the tools for success to recent alumnae, who aspire to become coaches themselves in the near future. We appreciate the support of our partners at Sport Canada for helping us make those dreams a reality.”
Stone’s first day back with the Vikes will be Sept. 1, as she put her own stamp on the team within the return to play protocol set out for her team.
“I’ve had so many coaches growing up and they were all great. I like to think that I’ll take something from all of them and create my own coaching style,” said Stone, who will serve as an assistant.
The South Kamloops Secondary School product was a five-time 1,500-metre B.C. High School champion and won the national gold medal at the 2012 Youth Nationals in the 1,500m.
Stellingwerff stated that Stone was a great cross country and track runner with the Vikes, and that she will work with both running programs this year.