When Kalum Delaney arrived at Reynolds secondary last year he wasn’t thinking about track, and he had never run a cross-country race.
And yet the 15-year-old is a contender to win the junior boys race at this weekend’s B.C. High School Cross Country Championships, Saturday at Vancouver’s Jericho Beach Park.
Delaney won the junior boys Island championship on Oct. 21 by a healthy margin. At the B.C. club cross-country championships last week, Delaney, a Prairie Inn Harrier, was “out leaned” at the finish line for his age group.
“I know a couple guys who are fast, I’ll [stick with them] and I’m hoping to come first. There’s a good chance I can do it,” Delaney said.
A former rep-level soccer player, Delaney scaled back a level to the Saanich Fusion U16 gold team as he’s heavily committed to his training regiment with the Harriers’ junior coach, former Olympian Bruce Deacon.
“I think Kalum’s surprising people who didn’t know the work he has been putting in,” said Reynolds cross-country coach Brad Cunningham. “He sticks to a very structured and progressive training schedule and has improved a lot since last year.”
Delaney is the newest Reynolds Island champion and could make it a sweep of the boys races, as Grade 12 junior national team member Brendan Hoff (of Campbell River) is seeking his first senior title at the cross-country provincials. Hoff, a 1,500-metre specialist, was 13th last year.
Hoff supports Delaney’s decision to run as a junior despite his potential to finish as a top-10 amongst the seniors.
“Kalum has a lot better opportunity to win the title at junior,” Hoff said.
Mount Douglas secondary’s Hannah Henry (Grade 11) is a favourite to reach the senior girls podium.