A Williams Lake runner will represent the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack cross country team at the CIS Cross Country Nationals Nov. 14 in Guelph, Ont.
Conlan Sprickerhoff, 20, now in his third year with the TRU cross country team, joins teammates Rachel Lobay (Kelowna), Aleisha Miller (Vernon), Tony Kirprop (Eldoret, Kenya) and Brennan Smith (Victoria) on the national team.
A Columneetza secondary graduate, Sprickerhoff started running under the guidance of one of his teachers, Nara Riplinger.
“She coached me and some friends initially but I never really competed because it was always in the middle of soccer season,” Sprickerhoff said. “It’s really amped up since then. I knew I was a good runner and just tried it out and did pretty well.”
During Sprickerhoff’s first season running at TRU the team was a member of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association. Last year, the team transferred to Canadian Interuniversity Sport — a step up in competition.
Under new head coach Carmin Mazzotta, Sprickerhoff said he’s been seeing major improvements.
“We’ve really amped up the training since Carmin started with us,” he said. “I’m substantially better than my first year just training harder and with that came [better] times.”
At the BC Cross Country Championships in Nanaimo two weekends ago Sprickerhoff finished 45th overall and 27th overall in the senior men’s category in an adjusted eight-kilometre race in 27 minutes.
Last weekend in Kelowna at the Larry Nicholas Memorial Race Sprickerhoff was fourth overall and third in the men’s 20-29 age division in 30 minutes and 54 seconds over nine kilometres.
“My teammates and I beat all the University of British Columbia Okanagan guys, which was good because we’d lost to them earlier in the season,” he said.
“The past three weeks it’s all been coming together and I’m looking forward to nationals next weekend.”
A goal Sprickerhoff wants to achieve at nationals is to finish in the top 100 runners.
“It’s something I think is doable for me, and would be a really good result for the team as well,” he said.
“Under 34 minutes would be awesome. I don’t know the course but it should produce some good times.”