Cycling Canada has named two Parksville BMX athletes to the NextGen training group program for 2018.
Siblings Alison Grecht and her younger brother Alex will be joining the NextGen West Team that will be honing their skills at an indoor track facility in Abbotsford. They are two of four BMXers from the Island who were named to to the group.
The other two Islanders are Ben Leslie of Nanaimo and Aidan Webber of Comox. The rest of the team is made up of riders from Alberta.
Athletes selected in both the national and NextGen programs will benefit from an optimized daily training environment that includes personalized and periodized coaching and integrated support services, with a focus on performances at international events, Cycling Canada said in a written release.
For Alison, this is her third straight selection to the West team, while Alex will be experiencing it for the first time. The 17-year-old pro BMX competitor said she is happy to have her brother training with her in Abbotsford.
“I am really excited and can’t wait to travel with him more,” said Alison.
“He’s my training buddy and my best friend so it’s going to be great to travel with him.”
Alison, who moved up to the junior women’s pro level last year, is looking forward to a better and healthier year.
“I got injured a lot at some bigger events last year,” said Alison, who is in Grade 12 at Ballenas Secondary. “I wished the season had gone a little better for me, but it’s OK.”
Among Alison’s accomplishments last year were winning the provincial championships again. She was also ranked No. 2 nationally among junior elite women and was selected to compete at the World Championships, where she placed 32nd overall.
When the siblings start training in the next month or so, Alison said, they will be preparing for the provincial, national and world championships.
“These are the three major events throughout the year that we get ready for,” said Alison. “It’s nice to be selected again. Every year it gets harder because more people know about the team and more vie for the team. It would mean a lot more travelling with the team and a lot more attention with the coaches as well.”
Alison is setting her sights on making it to the world stage again and said she will need to be at her best to land a spot in the Canadian team.
“There are three or four women in my age class in Canada that are now going to try for it and they are only going to select one or two of us,” said Alison. “A lot more kids get better and better. Every year, more youngsters get so much better and it makes it harder to get selected.”
As well, Alison wants to do well at the national championships.
“I have not won it since I was 14 and it’s such an amazing accomplishment,” said Alison. “I got injured last year, so it was hard for me because I was in so much pain.”
Alex has been climbing up the ranks in the very competitive boys amateur level and he feels his hard work has paid off well for him.
“It’s was a big goal for me to make the team,” said Alex. “I am really glad to have made the team.”
The 16-year-old Alex is anticipating a tougher year ahead as he will now be competing at the pro level.
“It’s going to be really hard this year but I am going to do the best that I possibly can,” he said.