Former Heat athlete Colin Wallace is the new head coach of the UBC Okanagan’s cross country running team.
Wallace takes over from Nathan and Nikki Reiter who spent the last four seasons building a reputable cross country program at the Kelowna campus.
“I am extremely excited for this opportunity,” said Wallace, who extolled the virtues of his predecessors, the husband and wife coaching team. “The foundation of this team has been built over the years by some amazing coaches who devoted their time and energy to our incredible student athletes.
“My goal,” adds the new coach, “is to keep the momentum going by inviting any distance runner in the UBCO community, from 800 metres up, looking for a competitive group to train with to come out for the team.”
Colin competed as a student athlete under Nathan and Nikki with the Heat as recently as last season. He has also been a CIS student athlete where he starred in both Cross Country and Track and Field at the University of Western Ontario during his undergrad.
Currently Colin is a PhD candidate and undergraduate instructor at UBC. Prior to coming to Kelowna Colin was an Athletic Therapist for Simon Fraser and prior to that he was a graduate assistant athletic trainer at the University of Oregon.
As a student athlete Colin ran for the Heat at two national championships, and in 2012 he finished fourth at the Canadian Olympic Trials in the 10,000 metre distance.
The previous coaches, Nathan and Nikki, did an outstanding job in their four seasons as coaches, taking the program to a consistent national contender level which culminated in a national championship for the women’s team in 2013.
Prior to 2011, the cross country program on the Kelowna campus had only sent a handful or runners over the past decade to any competitions.
“Nathan and Nikki have a great passion for cross country and it showed as they built the program into a national contender, ” says Rob Johnson, Director of Athletics and Recreation on the Kelowna campus.
“I am very pleased to have Colin stepping into lead the program. He shares that passion and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be a great asset to our program.”
With a solid core of student athletes returning, Wallace believes there will be a lot of leadership and experience in the group to help guide the new members.
The first meeting for the potential team and the new coach will be Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 4 p.m. in the upstairs lobby of the UBC Okanagan gym.
The season will culminate for the team with the 2015 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association’s (CCAA) Cross Country Running national championships will be held at St. Lawrence College in Brockville, Ont. on Nov. 14/