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Grade 12 student-athlete, Christina Peet Williams of Chilliwack, BC is enjoying her final high school cross-country season.

The former soccer player has been contacted by a number of universities from Canada’s USport league as well as the American NCAA system. There is much to consider athletically and academically. For her, as a competitive distance runner, academics will lead in her decision as to which university that she attends. Peet Williams is interested in environmental studies, but the politics and policies that affect the planet and its environment.

The 17-year-old recently finished third in the provincial club cross country championships. Saturday, November 5, she will be competing in the provincial high school championships.

Personal bests

800m – 2:17
1500m – 4:33.50
2000m – 6:36.10
3000m – 9:55.29

The interview

Christopher Kelsall: You played soccer and competed in track and cross country from a young age, recently giving up soccer for running. Sounds serious.

BC High School Cross Country Championships are Saturday, November 5. What are your goals for the race?

Christina Peet Williams: Placing in the top three and earning a medal at the cross country provincials would be extremely rewarding for me. I have worked very hard this season at improving my fitness and I am really looking forward to being able to show off my capabilities. Every year, there is always a change-up in runners, so I am excited to see who I will be competing against and how they will challenge me to perform my best.

CK: How fit are you right now?

CPW: I would say that I am really fit right now and in a good position for cross country provincials. I also ride my bike everywhere, so it is another great way to keep moving. In some shape or form, I am staying active every day and that has helped with my fitness.

Christina Peet Williams at 2019 BC Cross Country Championships.

CK: At BC club championships, did Ruby Broadbent catch you by surprise? She went out hard but she was unknown. Did you sit back too long thinking that no way she could keep up the front running?

CPW: Ruby definitely did catch me by surprise at BC clubs and is a fantastic runner. I don’t believe I had raced against her in cross-country prior to BC clubs and I didn’t know what to expect. Her race tactic and endurance did surprise me and I thought that she would surely tire. I was trying to close the space with her the entire race, but she had a really good pace going. Normally, I think I would have more energy to catch her, yet I had just recovered from a slight cold the week before. Either way, she had a fantastic race.

CK: Would you call yourself an athletics fan? For example, did you watch much of the Tokyo Olympic Games?

CPW: I would call myself a partial athletics fan because I don’t consistently connect with sports media, but do occasionally follow along during big events. Being busy with school and sports hasn’t allowed me any time to watch TV and is not something I spend time doing. I made sure to stay up to date on the Tokyo Olympic Games and it was amazing to see so many phenomenal performances by Canadians and all other competitors.

CK: Any middle or long-distance heroes or mentors for you at this time?

CPW: Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands is truly an inspiration for me after winning three medals at the Tokyo Olympics. After tripping in her 1500m heat and still winning that race, it really blew my mind how incredible of a runner she is. She then went on to win gold in both the 5000m and the 10,000m, while also grabbing bronze in the 1500m. That made me speechless. Sifan really is a legendary icon of grit, determination, and outstanding skill.

CK: Would you like to focus on the 800m and 1500m for now?

CPW: I’m actually thinking more about focusing on the 1500m and 3000m as I am enjoying more of the longer events. 

CK: How do you feel about indoors? Love ’em or hate ’em?

CPW: With never having raced indoors, I’m not sure how I feel about running inside. I’m definitely open to trying something different and I think it will be a great opportunity to run during the cold season.

CK: Growing up in Chilliwack do you run the hills or forested area just outside of town?

CPW: Yes, I love to be able to run elsewhere besides the roads and enjoy going to hills. Little Mountain is a local one that I go to often and has great hills for training, as well as Mt. Thom. Earlier this season, I ran up and down Mt. Thom both ways and was quite a rewarding accomplishment. I also do a decent bit of local hiking, which helps improve my fitness.

Peet Willaims at the 2019 Canadian club cross country championships

CK: Having grown up playing soccer, are you a fan? Did you watch the Canadian women in Tokyo?

CPW: I am a fan of soccer, particularly the women’s national team. They represented Canada very well at the Olympics with winning the gold and the result made me ecstatic. One of the players, Jordyn Huitema is from Chilliwack, so she was definitely a role model for me in soccer.

CK: Regarding school, you are interested in Environmental Studies, yes? But more perhaps around the legal, political, and policy perspective?

CPW: I am interested in pursuing Environmental Studies, as I not only want to understand serious issues surrounding our planet but also learn methods and solutions to deal with them. This is why I am curious about laws and policies surrounding the environment and I would like to be able to make a real positive step in the right path towards a healthier planet. Having a true passion for protecting our home allowed me to pick a field of study that really interests me and is something that I really look forward to.

CK: You were recently unsure of which university you will end up at next year. Have you narrowed down some of the choices a little further?

CPW: At this point, I am still unsure where I will be attending university, but I am keeping all options and opportunities open. It is certainly a big deciding factor on whether or not to stay local and is something that I have thought a lot about. Academics for me is the top priority and has been a balancing act when finding schools that offer both strong academic and athletic programs.

Canada’s big weekend of high school cross country, see live stream options available, here>>