John Gay won a gold and silver medal at the 2018 NAIA track and field championships.                                -Image: Jeff Sargeant

John Gay won a gold and silver medal at the 2018 NAIA track and field championships. -Image: Jeff Sargeant

Three-peat for Kelowna’s Gay at NAIA finals

OKM grad finishes UBC career winning the 3,000 steeplechase at the NAIA championships

In his last meet as a member of the UBC Thunderbirds, John Gay walked off the track with no regrets, a lot of memories and yet another piece of golden hardware.

The 21-year-old from Kelowna capped off his university career in style last weekend, capturing the 3,000-metre steeplechase title for the third consecutive year at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championship.

In hot and muggy conditions in Gulf Shores, Alabama, the Okanagan Mission Secondary grad ran to the national title in a time of 9:o4.36.

“It’s always exciting, it’s always nerve wracking, and I’m so thrilled to get the job done once again,” said Gay following his third straight NAIA gold. “I’m super excited to finish off my last collegiate steeplechase on a high note.”

Kelowna’s Sean Bergman, Gay’s UBC teammate, finished in ninth spot at the NAIA finals. Last year, Gay and Bergman went 1-2 in the 3,000 steeplechase at nationals.

RELATED: Kelowna products go 1-2 at NAIA nationals

Gay found the podium for the second time at the NAIAs with a second-place finish in the 5,000 metres in 14:42.18.

In reflecting on his four-year stay with the UBC program, Gay said there’s little he would change. He credits his coaches and teammates for keeping the experience fresh and allowing him to continue to evolve as both an athlete and a person.

“Every year is a bit of different path,” said Gay, the NAIA West Region men’s track athlete of the year. “I’m really fortunate to have a great team around me.

“The dynamic has really changed each year, so it hasn’t felt like same-old, same-old, there have been different challenges over the years,” said Gay. “It’s made for such a rich and fulfilling experience. I hope I’ve somehow left my mark on the program.”

While his collegiate career is at an end, Gay plans to forge full speed ahead with his running, training with the Vancouver Thunderbirds Track Club. In the big picture, Gay’s sights are set on the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In 2015, the qualifying standard for the Olympics in steeplechase was 8:32. With his personal best sitting at 8:36, Gay isn’t all far off from taking a legitimate run at a childhood dream.

“It’s something that’s kind of sunk in the last year and a half, it’s become a big goal for me,” said Gay. “I’ve taken along-term approach to try and achieve it, I’ve had tremendous support and continue to from the Vancouver Thunderbirds and coaches Chris Johnson and Norm Tinkham.

“It’s been really beneficial in my development.”

In terms of his education, Gay’s time at UBC has also come with many rewards. The Kelowna runner has earned his degree in International Relations and is now in the process of pursuing his Masters.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

(BC Conservation Service)
Hunter charged, fined for poaching immature moose in West Kelowna

Richard Fischer pled guilty to two charges under the BC Wildlife Act

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Dastkar, a new furniture store in Vernon, features handmade, unique furniture carved from wood and inlaid with brass in the Chiniot style. The business located on 43rd Avenue was started in December 2020 but is currently unstaffed due to COVID-19 staffing shortages. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Vernon’s hidden handmade furniture store

Owners of Shahi Pakwan Indian restaurant opened the South Asian furniture store in December 2020

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

Most Read