Sixteen year old, Aurilla Wilson from Balgonie has qualified to race in the North America/Central America/Caribbean (NACAC) Cross Country Championships in Trinidad and Tobago on February 22, 2014. The NACAC is a cross country race for athletes representing North America, Central America and the Caribbean. This is the tenth year for the annual event that has four separate races: an 8 km senior men’s race, a 6 km women’s race, a 6 km junior men’s race and a 4 km junior women’s race. Wilson, who was “happy and surprised” to qualify, will compete in the junior women’s race.
Wilson secured her spot through Nationals in Vancouver on November 30, 2013, where she was originally listed as an alternate. After one of her Canadian teammates was unable to attend the NACAC, Wilson got the call. Her entire family, including her grandmother, plan to cheer her on in Trinidad and Tobago and hope to make a holiday out of it.
Nationally, Wilson has become a cross country threat, winning Saskatchewan High School Athletic Association (SHSAA) Junior Girls Cross Country Provincials this year and placing well in provincial and national races over the past two years. It wasn’t until Wilson was fourteen that she discovered her hidden talent of long distance running. Wilson explains, “In grade nine, I did well in cross country after not training very much. My mom thought I should maybe try training with a club, so I joined and I improved quite a bit.” Wilson joined the Queen City Striders under the guidance of Steve Gersten. Thanks to her dedication and her coach, Wilson already has offers from American schools offering NCAA Division 1 Track and Field scholarship opportunities.
Through all the excitement, Wilson continues to stay humble. Admitting to getting nervous before races and just wanting to do her best, she discloses that she would love to get a scholarship in track or wrestling, medal at cross country nationals next year and attend the world championships in China, as well as continue to do well in SHSAA events. It appears whatever her short or long term goals are, with continued training and commitment, the possibilities are endless.