Skip to content

Bert Church runner accepts scholarship offer at NCAA school in Colorado

Willem Grant, an Airdrie long-distance runner and soon-to-be Bert Church High School alumnus, has accepted a placement at Western Colorado University – a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 2 school.

Willem Grant, an Airdrie long-distance runner and soon-to-be Bert Church High School alumnus, has accepted a placement at Western Colorado University – a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 2 school.

The local Grade 12 student-athlete will be enrolling in the school’s software engineering program and competing for its track-and-field team – the Western Colorado Mountaineers – this fall.

According to Grant, the school’s prime location – situated west of Denver in Gunnison, Colorado – lends itself well to athletes who are looking to train at higher altitudes.

“The school has the highest collegiate track in the world, which is pretty interesting to me,” Grant said. “It definitely stood out [to me] due to training purposes.”

Last fall, the local athlete came up against 230 of Canada’s best cross-country runners and a tough course of ice and mud at the 2021 Canadian Cross-Country Championships in Ottawa on Nov. 27. He entered the race on behalf of the University of Calgary Athletics Club (UCAC) and finished the six-kilometre route in 70th place against 230 competitors in the U18 age group.

Prior to that, he placed fifth at the Alberta Schools Athletic Association senior boys' cross-country provincial championships, finishing the six-kilometre race in 21:41, for a per-kilometre pace of 3:37.

Following the cross-country season, he told Airdrie City View, he was looking to snag an athletic scholarship and continue his long-distance running career.

He said he chose to study software engineering because it is well-suited to his academic interests.

“I’ve really liked solving complicated problems,” he said. “I’ve always liked computers and the math part of it, too.

Though he considered enrolling at the University of Calgary, he decided a U.S.-based school would hold certain advantages – particularly the opportunity to compete in the NCAA.

“In the NCAA, I find that university sports are significantly more competitive than schools in Canada,” he said, adding schools south of the border tend to host more meets with a wider variety of competitors.

Grant said the school year will begin a little bit earlier than the typical school start date in Canada, and he is already preparing to begin his studies at Western Colorado in mid-August.

Until then, he is going to continue his training and plans to finish the 2022 outdoor track season strong.

“I’m hoping to have a good outdoor season here in Calgary with UCAS, which is the club that I'm training with right now,” he said. “I just hope to have a strong outdoor season, to have a good transition over to cross-country in the fall in Gunnison.”


Carmen Cundy

About the Author: Carmen Cundy

Carmen Cundy joined the Airdrie Today team in March 2021.
Read more



Comments

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks