The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack cross country team is the latest team to go to the City of Vernon 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, five-foot-five, 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,” said Loewen, who will be taking courses aimed at achieving a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Mark Bendall is the cross country coach at Vernon Secondary: “I have known Sam since Grade 8 (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.
“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.”
John Machuga is Loewen’s club coach at VAAA.
“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,” said Machuga.
“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.”
Loewen won the VSS cross country team’s Most Dedicated Award in Grade 10 and qualified for the provincial championships four straight years (Grade 9-12). In 2016, she finished first overall in the Dirty Feet race series.
“Running is my absolute favorite pastime,” said Loewen. “I am very happy to be able to continue training for the sport throughout university.”
TRU’s Mazzotta feels Machuga has really built something special at the high school level in the Okanagan.
“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,” said Mazzotta.