Sports

Gold medal still hasn’t sunk in for Borrowdale

Chelsea Borrowdale (#1771) won second back in May in the senior girls 1500m steeplechase at the B.C. high school track and field provincial championships at McLeod Athletic Park. She found the podium despite being in just Grade 9. Over the weekend, the 15-year-old won gold in the midget competition as the Legion youth national track and field championships were held in Langley. - Gary Ahuja/Langley Times file photo
Chelsea Borrowdale (#1771) won second back in May in the senior girls 1500m steeplechase at the B.C. high school track and field provincial championships at McLeod Athletic Park. She found the podium despite being in just Grade 9. Over the weekend, the 15-year-old won gold in the midget competition as the Legion youth national track and field championships were held in Langley.
— image credit: Gary Ahuja/Langley Times file photo

The day after winning a gold medal at the Canadian Legion youth track and field championships, and it still hadn’t really sunk in for Chelsea Borrowdale.

“Even after a day, it still hasn’t hit me that I am first in Canada, a national champion,” marveled the 15-year-old.

“It was my ultimate goal to win at nationals and to do so, it is really cool.”

Borrowdale took top spot in the midget (15 and under) girls 1500m steeplechase event at the Legion championships, which for the second straight year were held at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park.

The three-day meet ran from Friday to Sunday, and Borrowdale won her event on the final day.

“At first, I was going in for a best time, but before the race, I really did want to win gold,” she admitted.

“I was just getting so nervous so I didn’t want to think about it too much.

“But the ultimate goal was to come first.”

Not a member of any track and field club — or selected for Team B.C. — Borrowdale was representing the Walnut Grove Gators. She is entering Grade 10 at the school.

While Borrowdale did manage to accomplish one goal — a gold medal — she came up short in the other, setting a personal best.

She won her race in a time of 5:10.10, more than two seconds ahead of Anne-Frederik Drolet (5:12.83).

“I was ahead for most of the race, so I was pretty confident I was going to win,” Borrowdale said.

“(But) I did have that paranoia where I thought I heard footsteps.”

Borrowdale’s time was just a shade behind when she crossed the finish line in 5:10.08 at the B.C. high school provincial track and field championships back in the end of May. She won silver in that race, as well as in the 3000m event. Both of those were against senior (Grade 11/12) competition.

“The conditions (on Sunday) were pretty harsh, so it was hard,” Borrowdale said.

“It was a little bit hot and humid.”

Even more impressive is the fact this is her first year in track and field and she picked up the steeplechase event for fun.

She said she had to give big thanks to Don Sparks, one of her coaches at Walnut Grove. He has coached her since Grade 8.

“I could not have done any of this without my coach,” she said.

“He has been really vital in my running experiences and played a huge part in my success.”

Borrowdale also runs cross-country for the Gators — she finished second at the provincial championships in 2013 — and she is aiming to make Team B.C. in the fall.

She is also an accomplished competitive swimmer with the Langley Olympians Swim Club and won a silver medal in one of her events at nationals last year.

And it is her swimming background that plays a huge role.

“Her fitness from swimming is a big part of her success,” Sparks said.

“She has a very strong engine from swimming and she is extremely competitive: she just won’t quit.

“I don’t know if her motivation is wanting to win or hating to lose.”

Borrowdale’s long-term goal remains to secure a post-secondary scholarship, although she is not sure if it will be in swimming, cross-country or track.

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