Athlete of the month: Will Rice

High school athlete embraces running

If 15-year-old Will Rice had a motto to live by, it could easily be: “It's not like I'm searching to do something, there's just always something to do.” The grade 10 student at Brooks Secondary School is always doing something athletic, from running cross country to playing soccer for Brooks junior boys and Powell River Panthers, or participating in track and field.

What are your goals for this year?
Make the BC High School Cross Country Championships and Island Championships for junior boys soccer, which has happened, and make it to provincials for Panthers, which we have yet to do.

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How busy are you?
This is when it gets serious. I have cross country and soccer championships going on. My schedule is soccer on Tuesday and Thursday, cross country on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, and Sunday is kind of my rest day. I pretty much do homework and play in community band, practicing trumpet, during my time off.

Do you ever get tired of such a demanding schedule?
Every once in a while you get one of those days when you're just exhausted. You're thinking beforehand how tired you are and just not feeling the practice, but once you go it helps your day. You're tired at the end of school but then when you actually get to go and do the sport it really helps at the end of the day.

Do you prefer soccer or cross country?
I've been more focused on cross country for the last two years. Those are the two sports I enjoy the most. Cross country is probably the one I'm best at and the one I enjoy the most.

When did you hit your stride as a runner?
It was between grade seven and grade nine. That's when I started running more. I've always enjoyed running but that’s when I actually started to have the ability to succeed at it. The turning point was the first time I did Texada Run the Rock, just after grade eight, because I just started training that summer for it to have a specific goal; after that I started to do cross country.

Who has been your biggest influence?
That’s difficult, actually. You have so many people who help you. My dad [Tony Rice] is my soccer coach and Graham Cocksedge is my cross-country coach. As well, there are all of the people who are on the teams. It's hard to say. You can't just pin one person down. It's everyone who supports you.

Do you remember your first race?
I do; I was six-years-old. My dad ran a marathon in Victoria and there was a one-kilometre race afterward. It took me a really long time but I still remember the race. I'd keep going out with my dad after that. He'd take me out on three-kilometre runs in the morning. I wouldn't be too excited about it. It was only when I got to high school that I really started to enjoy it.

What is it about running that appeals to you so much?
It's a feeling. I've done it my whole life. It's enjoyable just going out running. Training for something is working toward something; you're constantly bettering yourself. That's what I like about it.

BC High School Cross Country Championships take place on Saturday, November 4, in Vancouver.

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