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South Delta Secondary valedictorian on the run to SFU this fall

After also thriving on the soccer field, Gemma Dumas is looking forward to focus on running with her university studies atop Burnaby Mountain

South Delta Secondary School’s Class of 2023 valedictorian is taking her running talents to Burnaby Mountain this fall.

After delivering the biggest speech of her young life on June 28, Gemma Dumas is now looking forward to the next chapter after accepting a scholarship offer to join the cross-country and track and field teams at Simon Fraser University where she will initially pursue a degree in kinesiology.

Dumas is looking forward to untapping her potential in athletics.

She has been part of the SDSS track and cross-country teams since arriving at the school from Sacred Heart five years ago, but it’s been while carrying a heavy workload on the soccer field.

She has been a big part of the Sun Devils’ soccer podium finishes the past two seasons, including scoring the game-winning goal in extra time to capture the 2022 provincial title for just the second time in school history. At the club level, Dumas has just wrapped up her youth career with Coastal F.C. of the B.C. Premier Soccer (HPL) League.

“I was actually at SFU for a soccer game (last fall) when the track program was hosting a recruiting session,” recalled Dumas who thrives on the track in middle distance events. “I went to check it out, talked to the coaches and it went from there.

“There has been a lot of playing back and forth between two sports so it will be nice focusing on just one and seeing where that will take me. I would say I’m a bit newer to elite track and field and cross-country, so I’m excited for this new opportunity to be able to see what my potential is.”

She praised the support of her teacher coaches over the years with Brooke Jacobs and Carol Lingham overseeing the SDSS cross-country program while Gatlin Saip is in charge of the track and field season.

“I had run cross-country in elementary school for fun and Ms. Jacobs got me into it here. All three coaches kind of just stepped up and were always there to encourage and coach me over the years, even though cross-country and track are probably not the most popular of spots. They have been just so supportive of me,” Dumas added.

She continues a family tradition with both her parents having graduated from SFU. Her kinesiology studies could lead to a career in physiotherapy or pre-med studies.