Senior Spotlight: Grace Wong becomes a Thunderbird

While Grace Wong's high school track and field journey is coming to an end after this season, the senior from Killarney has much to look forward to as she will be heading to the University of British Columbia in the fall. She will be competing in the NAIA, the only collegiate athletic association to have the race walk as an official event. I caught up with Wong about how she got her start in the sport, her favourite high school memories and the path that led her to UBC.                                                          

Personal Bests

1500m Race Walk: 7:31.23

3000m Race Walk: 15:40.35

5000m Race Walk: 26:53.37

10km Race Walk: 56.14

Career Accolades

2023 BC Athletics U18 5000m Race Walk Champion

2023 Bell Canadian Nationals U20 10km Race Walk Champion

2023 Legion Nationals U18 3000m Race Walk Champion

2022 BCHS Junior Girls Race Walk Champion

2022 BC Athletics U18 5000m Race Walk Champion

2022 Legion Nationals U18 3000m Race Walk Champion

Canadian U18 Race Walk Record Holder

For those who may not be familiar, the University of British Columbia (UBC) boasts a track and field program with a storied history of success. UBC's Thunderbirds have consistently produced top-tier athletes who excel on both national and international stages. The program, headquartered at the Rashpal Dhillon Track & Field Oval on the UBC Vancouver campus, has been home to notable athletes like Evan Dunfee, a distinguished alum known for his accomplishments in race walking. Dunfee's achievements, including representing Canada at the Olympic Games and earning medals at international competitions, make him the perfect addition to Wong's training environment as he will be her coach as she competes for the blue and gold.

Wong's start in athletics began in fifth grade, spurred by a friend's suggestion. "I first joined track and field on my school team," she reminisces. "I often caught up to the boys when we played manhunt at lunch, and thought that it would be fun for me." What started as a recreational pursuit soon evolved into a passion as Wong dedicated herself to the sport. High school marked a turning point, where Wong's commitment deepened, and she discovered her affinity for race walking. "I began taking sports more seriously when I started high school. I attended practice each day and it was then that I got introduced to race walking. I started improving at race walking at a quicker rate than I did in running," she explains, "and it eventually became my main event."