In a community as active as Smithers, it’s no surprise the local high school sports program is up and running even this early in the school year.
Chris DeYoung, Athletic Director at Smithers Secondary School (SSS), has been a key element in helping develop and maintain the very active and successful program. At this point there are no less than nine teams getting ready for various high school competitive seasons.
School sports are generally divided into boys and girls, senior, junior, and Grade 8 teams. With nine teams currently on the go, after class activity at the school is in a very busy state. While winning competitions may not be the most important part of the program, the number of championship banners hanging from the gymnasium wall is an indicator the teams from SSS do very well.
The number of teams also means the number of students involved in healthy, extracurricular activities is high and that these youngsters are developing healthy lifetime skills and habits.
Perhaps one of the easiest group of athletes to imagine preparing themselves at this time would be the cross country runners. This sport has traditionally been strong in the area and the runners on those teams have been preparing for the Zone and Provincial Championship competitions.
In addition, senior boys soccer has been kicking the ball around the field while boys and girls volleyball players have been developing their setting and smashing skills inside the gym.
Swimming is growing as a team in its second season. New Vice Principal Dustin Hersee, a former member of the Canadian Olympic squad, got the team started last year and is looking to increase its size.
Last weekend, the junior volleyball girls were busy as they hosted an early season event. While there was no official winner, coach Neal Currie was pleased with the results as Smithers won all five of their matches.
De Young feels all teams are looking good and he is optimistic about how they will fare this year.
Perhaps the biggest difficulty is in finding enough coaches to lead the practice and competition sessions.
As these teams go on to upcoming Zone and Provincial championships, other teams will be starting up for the very wide variety of sports the school participates in. Moving on from the Zone level, local athletes often come up against athletes who may have better training opportunities or who may play their sport year round. Despite this, they always demonstrate what excellence means by never failing to give their best effort.