Liam Gatensby has risen to the top of his sport in a matter of months.
At age 15, with under six months with the UVic track club, the young athlete won the Men’s 14-15 100 Metre Dash at the BC Athletics Championships Jamboree in Kamloops last weekend with a Personal Best time of 11.52s.
“It felt really good,” he said “All that hard work paid off.”
Gatensby placed fifth in the Long Jump and fourth in the Men’s 14-15 100 Metre Hurdles, a sport he first tried in April of this year.
“He is an intelligent athlete who goes through an effort to understand his coaching,” said Dacre Bowen, Gatensby’s personal coach and coach for UVic’s Speed and Agility Academy.
“He brings knowledge of how to be coached from his hockey experience.”
The Kamloops competition was just a warm up for the budding track star as he heads to the BC Summer Games in Nanaimo this weekend.
“It’s my first time (going to the Summer Games). I’m looking forward to the whole experience and hanging out with my friends – and the event. It will be pretty fun, I think,” he said.
The Oak Bay High student first joined track in Grade 4 and kept at it through school until his coach encouraged him to join the UVic club earlier this year. He currently trains four to five days a week in preparation for the event.
“I’m concentrating on my starts. … My hurdles are pretty bad lately. I have to get over the hurdles more efficiently,” he said. “It’s concentration and timing. Timing is everything.”
Dacre said Gatensby responds well to coaching. “He keeps improving every time out, as they say of athletes, he has a strong upside.”
The teen also plays hockey, baseball and basketball, achieving honours in all three.
“I have a favourite achievement for each of my sports. For baseball, being the MVP of my team at the peewee A provincial championships in which my team won the silver medal. For hockey, making the bantam A team as a first year. For basketball, starting all four games for my team at the BC Grade 9 basketball championships. And for track, being city champion at the 100m for the last two years (and) winning a gold medal for the Grade 10 boys 4×100 relay as a Grade 9,” Gatensby said.
He also keeps his grades at or above B level, and has done so since Grade 6.
He enjoys every aspect of sport, saying simply: “It’s fun.” Although, as he heads into Grade 10 this fall, he will be zeroing in on athletics.
“Next year, I’m going to focus more on it. I’m going to take it more seriously,” he said. That includes joining Athletic Leadership at Oak Bay High.
But for now, he looks down the track at the hurdles before him and concentrates.