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Runner Lauren McNeil appreciated the lack of mud when she first started competing on Canadian soil in 2021 as an international student at UBC Okanagan (UBCO) from Braxton, England, where it’s a lot muddier. Her chosen alma mater appreciated the winning performances, of which there have been many. The third-year science major known as the “Buxton Bullet” finished first or second in every 2021 cross country race for the UBCO Heat, in good company with Canadian triathlon Olympian teammate Joanna Brown. Lauren’s repeat stellar performances earned her recognition as a Canada West First Team All-Star, Canada West Rookie of the Year and U SPORTS Rookie of the Year. She ranks as the only Heat athlete to ever win an individual cross country medal at the U SPORTS Championship.
UBCO Director of Athletics and Recreation Tom Huisman says Lauren is blazing a trail to attract more elite athletes from around the world: “For both the international student-athlete, as well as for their Canadian teammates, the opportunity and experience is an incredible one that we hope to provide to many more international student-athletes.”
Lauren McNeil finishes in second place at the U SPORTS Championships in Quebec City, Quebec last year (video: UBCO Heat Athletics)