Michelle Blackburne is hoping to finish her high school cross country running career with a personal best result.
The Grade 12 student at Mount Boucherie qualified this week for the cross country provincial high school championships with an eighth overall placing at the valley championships.
It will be the fifth straight year Blackburne, 17, races in the provincials, having made it each year since Grade 8.
But it will be the first time the provincials will be run outside of the lower mainland as the Telemark cross country ski trails will play host to the event next weekend.
“I know the course so it’s going to be nice,” said Blackburne this week. “I want to do well. I want to do better than last year. I’m hoping for a top 20 finish.”
Blackburne has had an excellent high school athletic career. In the fall she focusses on running and in the spring she will hit the pitch with the senior girls high school soccer team.
MBSS athletic director Adrian Zuyderduyn says she’s been a great example for other students in the school.
“She’s a great athlete and a straight A student,” he said. “She’s a wonderful kid.”
Like a lot of kids in Grade 12, Blackburne is trying to figure out what to do after graduation. She would love to get a scholarship in one of her chosen sports or may even decide to take six months or a year off schooling to figure things out.
Whatever decision she makes, running will continue to play a role in her life.
“I just love to run,” she said. “I’m very competitive so it’s a mixture of doing something you love and being able to compete with it.”
Blackburne’s love of running began early in elementary school. She recalls starting in Grade 4 and racing against other elementary schools. In middle school there were weekly races and in high school she began the first of five straight trips to provincials in Grade 8.
With the event on her home soil, next weekend’s provincial cross country championships at Telemark is a perfect way to close out her high school cross country career.
“I’m excited and looking forward to it,” she said.