Braden Kersey of Seaton won a major B.C. Athletics award for cross country running.

Braden Kersey of Seaton won a major B.C. Athletics award for cross country running.

Kersey collects major running award

Vernon's Braden Kersey has been honoured as the B.C. Athletics Male Cross Country Runner of the Year for male 14 year olds.

Stars Hannah Bennison and Trinity Hansma are established local names in B.C. track and field circles. You can now add Braden Kersey to that list.

Kersey was recently honoured as the B.C. Athletics Male Cross Country Runner of the Year (14 year olds) at an awards banquet at the Hilton Vancouver Airport Hotel in Richmond

Kersey, who turned 14 in September, ran cross country for the Seaton Sonics and the Vernon Amateur Athletics Association (AAA) team.

John Machuga coached both teams and is very high on Kersey’s attitude and moxy.

“He was pretty impressive right away,” said Machuga, on his first glimpse of Kersey this season. “He had pretty good form right off the bat and lots of determination. He wants to know why he’s asked to do things a certain way; he’s very inquisitive.”

Machuga, 37, has been coaching track and field for almost 20 years. He says Kersey works extremely hard in training and has a bright future in cross country.

Braden is in Grade 9 and placed 11th at the B.C. High School Junior Men’s Championships at Jericho Beach in Vancouver in November. There was a field of 210 on a wet and muddy course.

Some 300 metres into the five-kilometre race, somebody stepped on Kersey’s foot, the spike ripping a huge chunk out of his shoe. Kersey went to emergency to get his foot stitched after the race.

He was the first 14-year-old boy to cross the finish line at the provincial cross country finals in Nanaimo last October.

“Jericho Beach was a crazy course, super muddy,” said Kersey. “In Nanaimo, it was a super flat course. I had to sprint to the end, about 200 metres, to catch up to him (Devin Galway of Victoria) and pass him and win by half a second.”

Kersey, who started cross country in Grade 8 at Seaton under coach Rachel Romero, likes Machuga’s approach as well.

“John’s a really good guy and I really improved through his help. He doesn’t push you to your limits all the time; he likes balance.”

Kersey trains three times a week with the AAA club in season and will start training again in the spring.

“I really like the feeling you get from hard work and the achievement of saying, ‘I did that.’ Running in college is my goal for the future.”

Kersey is a multi-faceted teen. He plays the saxophone, flies up and down the Seaton climbing wall, trains six days a week in the winter with the Kokanee swim club and nordic skis (he used to race downhill)

He is “fairly competitive” in the 400- and 1,500-metre freestyle swim events.

Kersey also enjoys triathlon come summer. He trained with the TriMonsters Triathlon group last year and really enjoyed the swim-bike-run combo.