Stone gathering no moss

Kala Stone of the Kamloops Track and Field Club will compete at the Canadian cross-country championships on Saturday, Nov. 24, at Jericho Beach in Vancouver.   - KTW file photo
Kala Stone of the Kamloops Track and Field Club will compete at the Canadian cross-country championships on Saturday, Nov. 24, at Jericho Beach in Vancouver. 
— image credit: KTW file photo

Kala, people are starting to envy you.

At the provincial cross-country championships last month in Abbotsford, Kala Stone of Kamloops ran to gold in the 16- to 19-year-old junior division.

Here’s the kicker — at age 17, she is still eligible to compete in the youth division and doesn’t particularly like running cross-country.

“It’s too long,” said Stone, a Grade 12 student at South Kamloops secondary.

“Cross-country just has so many variables and I think that’s why I don’t like it as much . . . not knowing what to expect.

“Also, I like to go fast.”

And go fast she does.

Stone won three medals in the under-18 girls’ division — gold in the 1,500m, silver in the 800m and bronze in the 4X400m relay — at the Legion Canadian Youth Athletics Championships, held in August in Charlottetown, PEI.

With those results, Stone claimed No. 1 position in the B.C. Youth women’s 800m, 1,500m and 3,000m rankings.

The Kamloops Track and Field Club member will have another chance to medal on the national stage, thanks to her performance at cross-country provincials.

Stone qualified to compete in the junior division at the Canadian cross-country championships, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 24, at Jericho Beach Park in Vancouver.

“I want to make top six, so I have a chance to qualify for the world cross-country championships,” Stone said.

“There will be good competition from Ontario and B.C.”

The world cross-country championships will be held in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on March 24.

Part of the reason she runs cross-country is to improve her standing with NCAA Division 1 schools, which have been filling the Stones’ mailbox with offers.

The University of Utah gave Stone a tour in October and she has an official visit lined up with Arizona State in a few weeks’ time.

“It’s just about finding the school that fits me best,” she said.

“I want the track team to be strong. With that comes good coaching. And, academically, a school that has a program I’m looking into.”

Stone is not quite sure yet, but she might decide to study biology or health sciences, with an eye on a career in physiotherapy.

If she does qualify for worlds, Stone will continue to train at longer distances.

(Yes, that was her circling McArthur Island with a grimace on her face, wishing she was on the fast track at Hillside Stadium).

Should worlds not pan out for the budding track star, she will take a much-needed break — albeit a short one — before turning her focus to the indoor season and the distances she prefers running.

If she does get some time off, Stone might struggle to keep herself busy.

At this point, there’s only one thing on her mid — “Track. There’s no time for anything else.”

Stone fragment

Stone ran five kilometres in 18:25.73 to place first in the 16- to 19-year-old division at the provincial cross-country championships last month in Abbotsford.

The second-place finisher, with a time of 18:40.87, was Emma Balazs of Prince George, sister of TRU WolfPack men’s volleyball player Nick Balazs.

Like Stone, Balazs is also 17.


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