A young Vanderhoof athlete will be recognized within northern B.C. this winter for her dedication and hard work to track and field.
Emma Floris, graduating from Nechako Valley Secondary this year, is one of 15 athletes nominated for PacificSport Northern BC’s Rising Star award for junior athletes in 2016.
“Her determination and drive are some of those amazing qualities to have as an athlete,” said track and field coach Stephanie Gouin, who nominated Floris for the award.
The coach first approached Floris five years ago on the long jump field during a track and field meet in Prince George, Gouin explained.
“She’s just a naturally gifted athlete,” Gouin said. “She would succeed in any sport that she does, but when you look at Emma, she carries her speed naturally.”
She added, “She’s one of those naturally coachable athletes, so I needed to coach her.”
Currently nationally ranked, Floris has improved much since five years ago, and is a role model for the younger track and field athletes that Gouin also trains, Gouin said.
“She’s respectful…she shows great leadership towards the youth in the sport as well,” she said. “Who would have thought someone from Vanderhoof would come in and train with somebody an hour away.”
During track and field season, Floris travels three times a week to Prince George to train with Gouin to work on speed and technical components, in addition to cardio and strength sessions in Vanderhoof.
In the off-season, she coaches CanSkate, a program for beginner skaters in Vanderhoof, as well as training and playing for Nechako Valley Secondary’s secondary basketball team — lodging 10 to 11 hours a week of training throughout the year, said Floris.
“It’s a really big honour to be nominated with all the other amazing athletes,” she said. “I was pretty excited and pretty shocked when I heard about it.”
Though track and field is her passion, part of her motivation is also the fact that she comes from a small community, Floris explained.
“I want to be that person that no one expects,” she said. “I want to be that person that oh my gosh who is this, who is she, I don’t know where she’s from, I don’t know how she got this good.”
She added, “I have a lot of people that believe in me, and a lot of people that help me push forward.”
Floris is currently focused on improving and mental strength, she said.
“Trying to reach that next level…to better yourself and trying to stay mentally tough,” she said. “But it’s well worth it in the end; it’s really rewarding and really a lot of fun.”
Looking forward, Floris is pursuing a track and field scholarship, with offers from University of Regina and Nova Scotia’s St. Francis Xavier University — which her parents have both attended, she said.
Attracted to their academic program, as well as their running team, Floris says she looks to study sports medicine.
For her mother Heather Floris, the nomination is well-deserved with Floris’ commitment and self-motivation.
“She loves to do it,” Heather said. “Anytime I don’t have to drag my kids where they have to go, makes it easy.”