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Tyler Dozzi is heading to the University of British Columbia in September to study engineering and compete for the Thunderbirds under Coaches Laurier Primeau, Chris Johnson and Norm Tinkham. First, though he will be competing in the provincial high school track and field championships, where he expects to win gold.
Last week, Dozzi won two events during the Vancouver Island Track and Field Championships in the 1500-metre and 3,000-metre distances. In the 3,000m, he broke the island record by approximately six seconds, running an 8:28. With the right conditions, he could attack the provincial record of 8:21.27.
The provincial record in the 3,000m event is 42-years old. It was set in 1975 by John Martens of Burnaby South.
The 1500m record might be a little tougher to crack as it is set at 3:50.16 by Ryan Hayden of Vancouver College
back in the year 2000 as well as Neal Keffri of Fleetwood Park Secondary from 2011.
“I was happy with my 3K as a solo effort and a personal best, but I know I can go faster given the right race and opportunity,” shared Dozzi. “The 1500m was okay, but again I’m expecting more from myself. I will be aiming for gold at provincials, but could not be disappointed as long as I put in my best effort and enjoy the competition.”
Dozzi is from Terrace, BC, a small semi-remote city in the middle of the province, it is a beautiful place, but does not offer the training environment that Dozzi needs. As a 15-year-old, he took advantage of an opportunity to move to Victoria, which offers year-round training, world-class facilities and two-time Olympian Bruce Deacon. Deacon manages and coaches the Prairie Inn Harriers Youth Team, a high-performance group for youth who want to excel in the sport. Dozzi joined the group and steadily progressed.
“Tyler is an exceptional athlete who has a burning hunger to succeed. He’s very fit right now and we are both looking forward to seeing some fast times once he gets into races where he doesn’t have to run from the front,” shared Deacon.
Dozzi can win and race well from the front though, as he had during the 2016 Island cross country championships. He can also demonstrate patience, for example, he won the 2016 provincial high school cross-country championships in Kelowna. He only took the lead during the final few hundred metres to power away to the win well clear of his competitors. He went on to win the national club championships in Kingston, Ontario a few weeks later.
Asked what he saw in Dozzi besides the burning desire for success, Primeau said, “Why any coach would want Tyler at their institution is pretty self-evident. He is the BC High School and Canadian Youth Cross Country Champion and he recently ran a solo 8:28 3K. If memory serves, his academic average hovers around 97% and he’s an honest, independent, hard-working student-athlete. I think the better question is why did Tyler choose UBC, and in that I had a very small part.”
Dozzi is graduating from Oak Bay High School, which is a well-respected public school academically and offers one of, if not the most competitive sports environment on Vancouver Island and perhaps the province.
“I chose UBC because I’ll be closer to home, run on a competitive team with national team level athletes, be surrounded by a positive training environment, and I’ll have the opportunity to study engineering at a world-class university,” shared Dozzi.
The Thunderbirds offer for Dozzi what he initially saw in Victoria, when he left Terrace: a great training environment, excellent coaching, and the academic situation to suit his goals.
“I suspect the first thing he looked at is coaching competence. Norm Tinkham and Chris Johnson’s endurance group at UBC is demonstrating remarkable progress, and their athletes are continuing to improve at an impressive rate,” said Primeau. “I’m sure academic considerations were important to Tyler, and UBC Engineering is globally recognized. Lastly, our emphasis continues to be on moving athletes toward provincial and national teams in the summer season, even at the expense of university priorities. Knowing what his running goals are, I suspect this resonates with him.”
It does, but for now, there is the provincial high school track and field championships that he wants to win.
The meet takes pplace Thursday-Saturday, June 1-3 in Langley. Details can be found here>>