As the leaves continue to fall in Victoria, Canadian Sport School (CSS) athletes are back to work in the gym and the classroom as the innovative program enters its fifth year. The 2015/16 class is the largest yet, with 32 of Victoria’s best high performance student-athletes in grades 10-12 filling the roster.

The CSS Victoria is a critical initiative of the Canadian Sport Institute, School District 62, PISE, ViaSport and the Province of British Columbia. The program provides a system for student-athletes to attend their high schools for half the day, and then head to the Canadian Sport Institute at PISE to engage in strength, sprint and basic gymnastics training, followed by supervised study time in the CSS classroom. Students earn academic credit while creating more time to study, train and recover.

This year the CSS welcomes its first Paralympic hopeful, Melissa Pemble, an alpine skier gunning for the 2018 Paralympic Games. Pemble, a grade 10 student at the South Island Distance Education School, hasn’t let her cerebral palsy deter her from competing in sport. Beyond the gold and silver medals she won in skiing at the 2015 Canada Winter Games, she is also the 2015 BC Champion in para cycling. For 2016 she is aiming to become national champion in both the giant slalom and slalom as she trains for the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Korea.

“I am excited to be part of the Canadian Sport School. The program has given me an adapted training plan, which in a short time has already given me greater strength and agility for the upcoming ski season,” explained Melissa Pemble. “My ambition is to compete at the 2018 and 2020 Paralympic Games, and I feel with CSS I am in the right place to get there!”

“The Canadian Sport School brings some of the most elite high school athletes in Victoria together under one roof to pursue excellence in athletics and academics,” commented Jenn Joyce, Canadian Sport School Coach. “The program has grown rapidly in the past five years, so it is an honour for me to work in this unique culture where I can coach and lead the next generation of Olympians, Paralympians and National Team members.”
Also headlining the roster this year are Caroline Crossley and John Wilcox. Crossley, a member of Rugby Canada’s National Women’s Sevens Program, is a third year CSS student starting grade 12 at Oak Bay High School. She is a silver medallist from the Youth Commonwealth Games (September 2015) and is looking to play in her first IRB Tournament with Team Canada Sevens.

John Wilcox is also a third year CSS student and member of Canadian Sport Institute’s Cycling NextGen team. He is the 2014 Canadian Cadet Champion in the individual pursuit, and just recently took 8th place in the team pursuit at the UCI World Junior Track Cycling Championships. For 2016 he is aiming to break the Canadian Junior Individual Pursuit Record in the 3km.

2015/16 Canadian Sport School Victoria Roster

Athlete Sport School Grade Year at CSS
Georgia Alexander Basketball Oak Bay 10 1
Erin Attwell Cycling Maria Montessori 11 1
Noah Avila Soccer St. Andrews 11 1
Hannah Benischek Freestyle Ski Pacific Christian 11 2
Noah Bettauer Tennis Oak Bay 10 1
Benton Boychuk-Chorney Curling SIDES/Spectrum 12 3
Claire Church Field Hockey Mt. Douglas 10 1
Caroline Crossley Rugby Oak Bay 12 3
Sophie De Goede Basketball/Rugby Oak Bay 11 2
Kaelyn Dexter Lacrosse Claremont 12 1
Josh Dziwenka Downhill Mountain Bike Claremont 11 1
Gabrielle Fitaire Water Polo Victor-Brodeur 12 1
Keaton Gudz Golf Spectrum 11 2
Bryce Krakowec Tickner Golf Belmont 12 1
Brendan Hoff Athletics Reynolds 12 2
Sarah Kedves Figure Skating SIDES 10 1
Gavin Kratz Rugby Oak Bay 12 1
Hannah May Volleyball Belmont 10 1
Mara McCleary Soccer Stelly’s 12 3
Max McCulloch Cross Country Mtn Bike Oak Bay 12 1
Jayden McLaren Karate Stelly’s 10 1
Emily Moore Soccer Esquimalt 12 3
Erin Mutch Volleyball Oak Bay 10 1
Sean Pearse Soccer St. Andrews 11 1
Mel Pemble ParaAlpine Ski/ ParaCycling SIDES 10 1
Nate Postle Baseball Lambrick 11 1
Anika Shelrud Soccer Reynolds 12 3
Holly Simonson Cycling Reynolds 12 1
Jesse Simpson Baseball Lambrick 12 1
Brody Stark Baseball Lambrick 11 1
Amelia Trembath Softball Oak Bay 10 1
John Willcox Cycling Reynolds 12 3

Visit to view profiles on all Canadian Sport School athletes.

The Canadian Sport School would also like to congratulate 2015 CSS graduates who have moved on to higher levels of sport including:

Athlete Sport High School University/College
Adam Bontkes Baseball Claremont Northeast Texas Junior College
Alexis De Armond Field Hockey Mt. Douglas University of Victoria
Abby Irving Water Polo Stelly’s Wagner College
Ethan Skuija Baseball Mt. Douglas University of British Columbia
Tyson Abbott Baseball Lambrick Park Lethbridge Community College
Miles Krackowec-Tickner Rowing Belmont University of Victoria
Sam Willett Athletics Mt. Douglas University of Victoria
Nolan Mitchell Wrestling Claremont Simon Fraser University


About the Canadian Sport School Victoria

The Canadian Sport School Victoria is an important initiative of the Canadian Sport Institute, School District 62, PISE, ViaSport and the Province of British Columbia. The Canadian Sport School helps to alleviate the pressures experienced by high performance secondary school athletes and ensure that our future Olympians, Paralympians and National Team members have all the skills and resources needed to continue to progress as high performance athletes, while excelling both on the playing field and in the classroom. Delivered in partnership with the PacificSport Centres, there are three more campuses located in Kelowna, Prince George and Fort St. John. An Information Night will be held on February 25, 2016 in advance of the April 1st application deadline for the 2016-17 program.