Brant runner earns scholarship
Brant News photo
Tyler VanLeeuwen knew he was athletic enough to try and earn his way into college or university athletics after high school.
It was just a matter of buckling down and focusing on a specific sport.
“At the beginning of the (school) year I tried to weigh all my options and looked at which sport I could be competitive in at the next level,” the St. John’s College graduate said. “I decided running was the sport for me.”
Track and field, cross-country, basketball, tennis and badminton were all in VanLeeuwen’s regular rotation during high school.
But he ramped up his cross-country training at the start of this school year and earned his first Ontario Federation of School Athletics Association appearance.
“I really like how running is just dependent on you,” VanLeeuwen said. “You control how you place and you can’t blame anybody. It’s just you and the course.”
The hard work resulted in VanLeeuwen this week signing a letter of intent to attend Niagara University on a cross-country scholarship. He will compete for the Purple Eagles in Division I of the NCAA cross-country program.
Thanks to his focused training with the Brantford Track and Field Club and coach Cory Currie of Without Limits Personal Training, VanLeeuwen had a choice of six schools looking to recruit him.
“(Currie) really helped me get in touch with the schools in the states,” VanLeeuwen said. “I was really excited to pick Niagara. It’s really close to home, it has the program I am interested in and I really liked the coach.”
VanLeeuwen intends to become a teacher, like both his father and mother. And he won’t be the only VanLeeuwen wearing the Niagara University Purple Eagles uniform. His sister, Kelly, is headed into her junior year as a member of the women’s basketball team.
“It’s going to be really cool having her at the school,” VanLeeuwen said.
VanLeeuwen has been training with Currie for three years and has shown improvement during that time.
“He was a good runner already, it was just a matter of getting him on a program to reach his goals,” Currie said.
VanLeeuwen and the Brantford Track and Field Club team had a good showing last weekend at the Athletics Ontario Indoor Youth-Senior Championships at the Toronto Track and Field Centre.
VanLeeuwen, Tyler Moore and Alex deVries all ran personal bests while moving up age categories to compete.
Riley Malcolm, who will also be weighing scholarship options during the coming weeks, finished third in the senior men’s 1,500-metre race.
The club will have a larger contingent competing at the Athletics Ontario Indoor Bantam-Midget-Junior Championships in two weeks time.