Red Deer’s Jared Howse had his pick.
The grade 12 student at St. Joesph High School will enter a new chapter in the fall and he’s doing it on his own terms.
Howse earned an athletic scholarship to run next year with both the track and field and cross country teams at the University of New Brunswick, but that wasn’t the only school in the running.
The modest, long-distance runner had multiple offers, including ones from the University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, University of Toronto as well as University of Alberta and University of Calgary. After considering all his options, including academics offerings, Howse decided to take his talents to the east coast.
“When I talked with the UNB coach, Chris Belof, he just seemed like he was really knowledgable and I liked what he said they have going on there,” said Howse, who runs with the Red Deer Titans Track and Field Club.
“In February I went and visited the campus… I met some of my teammates and (Belof) said he really wanted me on the team. Once I went down there and had a few training sessions, it was pretty easy to decide that’s where I would fit in best.”
Belof’s commitment to his athletes was something Howse noticed right off the bat when he visited the school and that was a major factor that helped him feel comfortable with the choice.
“He is super committed to his athletes and he cares about them… it’s the coaches who go the extra mile for their athletes that’s something you can notice and that makes a difference,” he said.
Howse started gaining university interest last summer, after winning gold in the under-18 2,000-metre steeplechase at the Legion National Track and Field Championships in Cape Breton, N.S., on Aug. 10.
He also helped Alberta win bronze at the Canadian Cross Country Championships in Abbotsford, B.C., last fall. He finished 10th overall in the U18 six-kilometre boys race, in a time of 19:36.32, but he was the top U18 runner from Alberta at the event.
While he didn’t get a chance to round out his high school running career this summer at provincials, Howse won silver in both the 1500m and 300m last spring at the Alberta Schools Athletic Association Championships.
“Jared has demonstrated that he can perform at every level in our sport,” said the UNB Reds cross country and track and field coach.
“His national youth medals are a testament to his talent and diligent work ethic. His development has been outstanding, and we’re excited to see him contribute to our program and reach new heights in the coming years.”
Along with those accolades, Howse is also a nominee for the Mayor’s Recognition Award and earned the Red Deer Rebels Scholarship as well as Athletics Alberta U18 Cross Country and Track and Field award.
In addition to getting a chance to compete at the next level, the Red Deer teen is excited to jump headfirst into UNB’s Computer Science program, where he hopes to specialize in cybersecurity.
“I’m a little bit nervous about moving really far away. I know I’ll be fine and it’ll be nice to go do my thing for a bit. I’m just really excited to get to learn about computer science,” Howse said.
“And just getting to train and compete at a higher level and be in a constant group environment, it’ll be really quite different than what I get here in Red Deer. A lot of athletes at the same level.”
For now, the 2020 U Sports Cross Country season won’t go ahead, but there could be events in January of 2021, along with track and field. Either way, Howse will be in New Brunswick in the fall, starting his degree with online classes.