This 2017-2018 college year, Anna van der Giessen will be joining the Wolf Pack at Grande Prairie Regional College as a part of the cross country running program! Anna is an incredible, local athlete who has competed in multiple sports throughout her years at Bezanson School and Peace Wapiti Academy. She played every sport at Bezanson and then stuck to basketball, cross country and track for Peace Wapiti Academy. She excels at all sports and is an incredible athlete, including representing Team Alberta North in Snowshoeing at the Arctic Winter Games. Not only has she successfully completed Emperor’s Challenge Half Marathon in Tumbler Ridge, but Anna has also won the Women’s under 19 Category twice as well as many other awards in the years she has been running. Anna is also very motivated. She will be taking her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at GPRC and then transferring to the University of Alberta in hopes to become a nurse practitioner while being a part of the team. Her goals for the year include, “improving her times and endurance. If she trains hard and make herself the best that she can be, whatever the outcome is, she’ll be happy!”

 Along with her family, friends and community, Bill Corcoran, the GPRC running coach, is also very excited for Anna to be joining the school. “We are really looking forward to working with Anna. She’s a great kid with lots of potential. She doesn’t have a ton of running experience, but she’s athletic. Our program has had really good success with athletes like her. If you have the proper work ethic and some basic talent, you can improve relatively quickly in cross country running,” says Bill.

Anna has played basketball for Northern Energy Basketball, Peace Country Thunder Basketball, Peace Wapiti Academy Titans and the Bezanson Bulldogs. She is a very hard worker and never gives up. She is always friendly and does not fail to make anyone smile. When time permits, Anna is often involved in community events as a volunteer. Anna also came from a small school and has had different opportunities than those coming from larger schools. She leaves a piece of advice for those student athletes growing up in a small community.

“If you are really passionate about the sport, make sure you seek out opportunities outside of school like summer camps or clubs to help you get to the next level. But most importantly, don’t be intimidated!! I found coming from a small school to be beneficial because I got the opportunity to play every sport and get lots of playing time! And playing those other sports has helped me to become a much better runner.”
-Anna van der Giessen

Everyone is so excited to watch Anna in her next step. We wish her the best in her years to come and can’t wait to see her succeed in her new adventure. Anna also would like to thank some people in her community that have helped her with her journey.

“There are so many people who have helped me to get to this point! My teachers in Bezanson and at PWA have all been great and I truly appreciate all the work they’ve put in and the help they’ve given me! And in all my years of playing sports, my coaches have been phenomenal. From volleyball to basketball to track, I have had the best coaches who have given me a love of sports and being active. However, there are two people I’d really like to thank; Les Sonnenberg for always making track season in Bezanson such a success and also Julian Camsell, for taking over PWA’s track team and making my last year of high school track so great!”
-Anna van der Giessen

Photo Credits: Carolyn Goetjen-Pilgrim

By Ally Pilgrim