Veronika Fagan: Heat Athletic Scholarship Breakfast Speaker

Veronika Fagan: Heat Athletic Scholarship Breakfast Speaker


Good morning and welcome to the 13th annual Valley First UBC Okanagan Scholarship breakfast. My name is Veronica Fagan, and I’m a third year nursing student and athlete with the UBC Okanagan cross country running team. I’m here to share with you my experiences growing up in Kelowna as a middle distance runner, about becoming a heat athlete, and the opportunities and accomplishments
I have had along the way. Early on teachers provided opportunities for me to participate in track and field and cross country teams. Being inspired, I went out to train and compete as an athlete in the Okanagan athletics club as an athlete of Pamela Medlin, Nate Nikki Reiter and Malindi Elmore. Knowing I wanted to compete at the post-secondary level, I had conversations with several universities in Canada and the U.S. At the time Mike Van Tigham who is the coach of the track of field team and cross country team at the University of Calgary
sparked an interest in me. Recently he was a speaker at the 2018 Community Sports Hero Awards reception, and mentioning me he stated although he had wished I come to the University of Calgary UBCO was the best decision I could have made. I couldn’t have agreed more. I have had the greatest supporters and believers behind me including my family, coaches, teammates, UBCO Heat administration and staff and the Kelowna community. Looking back to my first year representing UBC Okanagan, I was the 16th woman to cross the finish line. The following year, I placed fourth and this year I became the CCA national champion Thank you Early in the year when I submitted my season goals of being talked through to my coach John Machuga, He was quick to tell me to go for the win. I thought it was unachievable, but I smiled and nodded. With the encouragement of my coaches and my teammates, my mentality started to change and I began to picture myself crossing the
finish line in first place. Every workout, every long run, every easy run, and every race, I visualized myself winning and began to believe that my coach’s crazy idea of me winning CCA nationals was not as out of reach as I had originally thought. I allowed myself to accept this challenge, and do everything I could to make it happen. I had to trust my coach knew me individually as a runner, trust in my training program, and trust in my abilities as an athlete. Now as you probably know, running isn’t easy, it hurts, and many people would rather do
anything but go for a run. That being said, my team has been a highly motivated, hardworking, and committed bunch of male and female athletes and coaches. Running is not just an individual sport. It’s a team sport. The cross-country men’s and women’s teams shared great bond, and we are always seeing cheering each other on at workouts and during races. After the women race at nationals we sprint with what we have left to different parts of the course and yell as loud as we can cheering the men’s team on until we lose our voices. In all three years with the Heat our women’s team has had a podium finish placing UBCO on the national map. Our team could have never achieved such success without the support of each other. Our current and past coaches Colin Wallace, MacKenzie Wong, John Machuga, and Deliah Topic have all taught us something new and inspired us to push ourselves, and I thank them all for their expertise in the sport and dedication to our team. My goal is to help grow UBC Okanagan cross-crountry program into a university team which will compete with the best runners in U sports by attracting passionate runners from elsewhere in Canada. Your contributions will go a long way, and eventually allow for the growth of previously overlooked sports such as cross-country running. At this time I would like to say thank you to the Sull and Katz family for the scholarship money this past year which alleviated some financial stress. Also the Faculty of Nursing for not only being felxible with my school schedule so I’m able to be an athlete, but sending me letters of encouragement and support. With all the money raised by all of you here today, it has given my team and me the opportunity to run at nationals in Brockville and Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario and Laval in Quebec. I look forward with great anticipation to the next year, my final year competing with my team. I’d like to express my gratitude I have for being supported by such a tight-knit community. Each and every time that I’ve had the privilege to wear the Heat singlet has been one to remember, And I thank UBC Okanagan and its supporters for that. If you ever see my team and me running around Kelowna, give us a honk or come out to cheer us on on our local races. We would love to see all your faces. Thank you for coming this morning and go heat

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