Parksville’s Spencer Bradbury had a number of universities that wanted him to join their athletic teams this coming school year.
Bradbury, nationally ranked in the 400-metre hurdles, had offers from Waterloo University, McGill University, and American schools in North Dakota and Tennessee. He could have chosen any one and received an athletic scholarship in the process.
In the end, Bradbury opted to follow another route.
Aside from being an exceptional athlete, Bradbury is also an outstanding student. This fall, he will attend the University of British Columbia, not on the strength of his legs, but on the strength of his mind.
The former Ballenas Secondary track and field standout was chosen for the Presidential Scholars Award, offered to accomplished and promising Canadian citizens. He will receive $40,000 scholarship to study engineering.
When he found out he was offered the prestigious award, Bradbury said, he was extremely ecstatic and incredibly honoured.
“UBC has over 20,000 incoming students this year and receiving this recognition just inspires me to continue to strive to achieve the very best,” said Bradbury. “UBC was always one of my top choices for university. It consistently ranks as one of the top universities in the world and I am very excited about the phenomenal education I am going to receive.”
Another reason Bradbury chose UBC was his concern about the uncertainty the pandemic is causing.
“Staying slightly closer to home and especially within the country just made sense to me,” said Bradbury.
Bradbury initially hoped to join the UBC Thunderbirds athletic team that also recruited another Ballenas star athlete Juliette Desvaux.
“The restrictions placed on training and the lack of all official competition due to the COVID pandemic led me not to achieve any new personal best this season,” said Bradbury. “Because of this, I was unable to meet the standards to be a walk-on member of the UBC varsity track team.”
Bradbury considers running as a major part of his life and plans to continue his training, whether to take one more shot of making the UBC team or to participate in road races for fun and recreation.
“I know university is going to be an extraordinary chapter in my life story and I look forward to joining clubs, making friends, learning about topics I’m passionate about and everything else that I will experience during my time at UBC.”