ATHLETICS CANADA(AC) ‐ You chose to stay and train in Canada at one of the AC Performance Centres,
can you take usthrough some of the reasons that went into your decision making process?
DRELAN BRAMWELL (DB) ‐ My first choice was always to stay in Canada. My desire was to be close to family
and friends. At the same time a full scholarship to a big time US college was something I could not really
pass up. However, after hearing that Canada had a carding system in place which also included covering
tuition fees and that I was eligible to receive it, I changed my focus from the US back to Canada. As far asI
was concerned I had the best of both worlds.
KATELYN LEHNER (KL) ‐ During my grade 11 and 12 yearsI had always wanted to go to the states to compete
in the NCAA. My decision was very thought out and every pro and con was considered. Staying in Canada
did not become an option for me until December of last year. After meeting Carla Nicholls and being
identified in Athletics Canada’s Developmental Program, I was invited to attend a training camp south of the
border with some very high level athletes and coaches. I had the opportunity to train with Brianne Theisen
and Jessica Zelinka, two Canadian heptathletes that represented Canada at the London 2012 Olympics. They
had both taken different routes with their athletic careers and both came out with some great results.
My main reason for staying in Canada is being able to have access to the high performance coaching and
training that the Calgary National Center can provide. I am very much looking forward to the overall support
that the Sport Center can provide ‐ sport medicine,fitness testing, physio, as well as academic support and
advice. As time went on, I realized that having a Canadian education is more important than some people
think. A risk of going to the states is that your classes or degree will not transfer with you back to Canada. It
will be a lot less stressful knowing that whatever I choose to get a degree in, I will have no problem with it
I have now realized too,the athletic assistance that is available on a provincial as well as a national level.
Sask Athletics, Sask Sport, and Athletics Canada have been very supportive and I expect their support will
continue to be there in the future for all athletes.
Overall, I am very happy with my decision to stay in Canada. Every athlete has their own individual needs
and I strongly believe that the Calgary Center can meet mine, and will have my long term goals in their best
TYLER SMITH (TS) ‐ I decided to stay in Canada mostly due to my dreams of becoming a teacher.Going into
the states and then coming back to teach could become difficult. I also love my country and I think that I
should stay and try and make the competition that much better. I think more athletes should try and do the
The Centre in Victoria is perfect;the coaches are hilarious, and very knowledgeable. They are also coaches I
plan to be working with for many years after my university career, if I’m lucky that is! I feel I’ve been lucky
the past few years, I earned a development card from Athletics Canada, with this I can do just as well or
better than in the NCAA. I guess the only hard part is holding on to that card for a few years.
My third reason is to stay close to my mom, who also loves Victoria. It’s nice to be able to get on a cheap
plane ride and see her in less than a few hours. My mom is really important to me and is a great inspiration.
AC ‐ Turning down an NCAA scholarship is not an easy thing to do, how did you come to that decision?
DB ‐ Being close to home plus funding for my educational goals. The choice became easy after that.
KL ‐ It was not easy! I had the opportunity to go on two official visits and the coaches and athletes I met
were great, along with the Universities. It was not an easy task at all to make those phone calls to inform the coaches of my final decision.
Division I NCAA is very competitive and there is financial support for the teams
and athletes. I met many great people and coaches through my journey that I expect to come across in the
years to come in my athletic career. However after being exposed to the National Training Center in Canada,
I realized it was a good fit for me.
TS ‐ The cost of me staying in Canada with Canadian carding would benefit me much more than an NCAA full
ride scholarship. The carding standard is much more risky to maintain, I am up for the challenge.
AC ‐ Are there any coaches or athletes at the Performance Centre that you’re really looking forward to
DB ‐ To tell you the truth, I didn’treally know too many people prior to joining the Toronto program other
then Desai Williams. Nevertheless, his past accomplishments were very intriguing tome. Running with Ben
Johnson really opened my eyes to the fact that he was the real deal.
Once I got to the training centre and heard and saw the improvements of most of the athletes in a short
span of time, I knew I was in the right place. I’ve also really bonded with my team mates which has been an
KL ‐ Having the opportunity to attend three Arizona training camps, I have been able to meet and become
comfortable with my future training partners and coach. Being coached by Les Gramantik has already been
effective and shown progress in my performance in just a short period oftime. He is a great coach as well as
a great person. It will be an asset that Les will be my coach year round.
The athletes; Sam Effah, Rachael McIntosh, Rachel Machin and Nikki Charlesworth have been very
supportive. They are all great athletes and I am looking forward to training with all of them!I t has been great
getting to know everyone over the last few months. It has definitely taken the unknown element away from
arriving in Calgary this fall. I am excited to become a “Dino” and to be part of the female Track and Field
team. They are 2012‐2013 CIS champions and hopefully my commitment and hard work will enable me to
become part of a Championship teamin the near future.
TS ‐ Andrew Ellerton is a new coach at UVIC and although I know he might not be around forever I am really
hoping I can learn as much as I can from him with the time I have with him.He is a great athlete and Brent
Fougner and Wynn Gmitroski are devoted coaches.During my visit to Victoria Imet up with a lot of people I
used to look up to in Alberta that now also run for the UVIC team. I also met many other new athletes that
I’m sure I will have no problem getting along with. Taken as a whole I think they are the best bonded teami n
Canada and I can’t wait to be a part of it all!
AC ‐ What would you say to a young athlete that is reading this right now and going through the same
DB ‐ I would say that you really have to weigh the pros and cons of your circumstances. What are your main
goals? Can those goals be achieved by staying in Canada? Not every athlete is going to get carded by AC.
With that said, passing up a chance to go to the US on a scholarship would be hard to resist. Overall, I
would say you have to do what’s best for you.
KL ‐ My advice would be to weigh out all your options. There is no right choice – it is more about what the
right choice is for you personally. You definitely need to consider the academics,the athletic environment
and your long term goals. Athletics Canada’s High Performance Centre is comparable to the NCAA with high
level coaching and opportunities to compete around Canada as well as in the States. I feel in choosing the
National Training Center, I will be able to experience the best of both worlds!
TS ‐ Any athlete that is looking into staying in Canada should. I know that most people are looking to go out
and live life, grow and explore new things, and I think that’s why a lot of people leave home and go into the
NCAA. Sure the training could arguably be better for the time being and the competition is obviously greater,
but at the end ofthe day I would rather be doing the best I can possibly do for my country on a world stage;
that’s whatI believe AC and CIS want as well. I believe going down south makes it harder for our track
community to work together and focus on being successful on a global stage. I know money is always a
factor, but I also know there are more Canadians like me who believe some of us should stay. Looking for
support from Canadian Companies is always a possibility and I’m sure with their support we could match the
income some of our athletes are getting in theNCAA.
AC ‐ What’s been your career highlightto this point on the track?
DB ‐ My career highlight thus far has been the 2011 Commonwealth YouthGames on the Isle of Man. That
was my first international competition and it really opened my eyesto the fact that I can compete at an
international level. I ended up finishing fourth in the 100m. I have many more career highlights to come!!
KL ‐ My career highlight on the track so far would be running through the finish line atthe end of my 300m
hurdle race atthe Legion Canadian Youth Championships last summer. It is such a great feeling to know that
all of my hard work has landed me in the number one spot in Canada for this event.
TS ‐ Sadly I got sick at the World Junior Championshipsin Spain last summer and I didn’t make it out of the
semifinals. Taking this into consideration the year before in Lille, France I ran a new Canadian youth record
in the 800m, I would have to say that is my greatest achievement so far. Although I did not continue to hold
the record all the way through the season I am still proud of my time at the World Youth Championships.