Criteria for selection requires many traits

The top 20 Cowichan Valley Youth Athletes from 2013, with Olympians Kyle Hamilton and Hilary Stellingwerff and NLP sports editor Don Bodger. - Andrew Leong/file
The top 20 Cowichan Valley Youth Athletes from 2013, with Olympians Kyle Hamilton and Hilary Stellingwerff and NLP sports editor Don Bodger.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

Welcome to this special section commemorating the top 20 Cowichan Valley Youth Athletes of 2013.

I’m often asked about the criteria that goes into selecting the top 20 — or the full 113+, for that matter. It’s a difficult question to answer with a simple explanation because so many factors are considered.

First and foremost, I fully trust the recommendations given to me by coaches and those in the know about the high school-aged athletes playing various sports. They’re the ones who spend the most time with the athletes and provide me with the greatest insight into their characters.

And it is just as much about character as it is about pure athletic talent.

I take the recommendations given to me by the experts and then combine what I learn from them with my own knowledge about the athletes, either from any personal experiences and interviews or purely from observation.

Results and ability are obviously important, but some athletes in the top 20 this year made the list primarily for other reasons.

Next in line in importance to results is dedication and commitment followed by sportsmanship and potential. You won’t find anyone in the top 20 this year who isn’t fully committed to training and making the most of their athletic experiences.

Sportsmanship is an interesting aspect because it includes seeing how athletes react to adversity. No one, team or individual, is going to win every time so we need to take into account how athletes bounce back from any setbacks they may encounter.

On top of all that, there is a seniority component. No elementary school student is ever going to win the Athlete of the Year award. Grade 12s and 11s have the priority in their final high school years, but that’s not to say they can’t be surpassed by a younger athlete. It’s just very rare.

If the athletes are indeed outstanding, they will stand the test of time over all their high school years and reap the rewards by the time they reach the senior grades.

Potential is simply gauged by looking at the athlete and seeing if they have what it takes, depending on their sport, to one day represent Canada in the Olympics, compete in a World Championship or turn pro.

Starting with Liam Lindsay below, the next several pages feature responses given by the top 20 to the following questions:

1. Detail your proudest sports moment of 2013.

2. What’s the most unexpected or surprising thing that happened to you in your sport?

3. Who’s the individual or team you compete against in your sport that you admire most and why?

4. Who’s a favourite athlete or role model?

5. What things have you given up or aspirations set aside in order to achieve your success?

6. How do you see your experiences in sports impacting your adult life?

Enjoy this salute to a great group of young athletes.

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