West Kootenay athletes excel at Victoria track meet

Matti Erickson wins double-gold, Jaxon Kuchar silver and bronze at the BC Endurance Challenge meet

Jaxon Kuchar and Matti Erickson

Trail’s Jaxon Kuchar and Nelson native Matti Erickson shone brightly at the 2021 BC Athletics Endurance Challenge held in Victoria July 24-25.

Running against the top competitors in the province, Erickson came home with two gold medals in the U20 division with wins in the 800 metre and 1500 m sprint.

Kuchar, meanwhile, raced to silver in the 1500 m and bronze in the 800m in the U18 category, along with two personal bests.

“I was really happy to win bronze and silver at provincials,” said Jaxon. “I’ve been training hard over the past few years in hopes that meets would resume, and I was lucky enough to participate in four meets this year.

“As exciting as winning the medals, I achieved two personal best times, breaking four minutes in the 1500 meter run for the first time.”

The J. L. Crowe student finished less than two seconds behind winner Adam Crespi of Coquitlam in the 1500 m race, with a time of 3:59.21 compared to Crespi’s 3:57.98.

Kuchar claimed another podium as he finished the 800m race in 1:57.58, just two seconds behind Crespi again.

Despite the COVID pandemic that cancelled all track meets in 2020, Kuchar has been able to maintain a regular training regimen.

“Thanks to my coach, Colin Adamson, I’ve been able to maintain my fitness and continue to grow as a runner,” said Kuchar. “The pandemic has motivated me to continue training throughout the past two years.

“Doing time trials with some of the other runners nearby such as Nelson’s Matti Erickson, who is one of the top runners in Canada, helped me improve my times.”

Erickson’s golden performance in the 800m was dominant, as he won handily in 1:50.11, four seconds ahead of second place runner Michael Schriemer from UBC Okanagan. His time put’s Erickson under the U20 World Athletics Championship standard of 1:50.80.

He repeated the feat in the 1500m finishing in a time of 3:55.70, with Shriemer (3:58.39) coming second and Joseph Curtis third.

The meet was the final race of the season for Kuchar, who will enjoy a little down time to recharge for the cross-country season.

“I will participate in other activities such as biking, hiking, and swimming and resume my training in the middle of August,” said Kuchar.

“I look forward to running with the J.L. Crowe Cross Country team, and I have my fingers crossed that there will be a provincials this fall.”

Kuchar enters Grade 12 at Crowe next year, and is very likely to follow in the running shoes of Erickson, who landed an athletic scholarship to the University of Oregon for 2021.

Read: Trail athlete wins gold at National Youth Track meet

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