One of the Maple Ridge Ramblers top graduating athletes, Jade Lenton, will be taking her talents to the University of Toronto next year.
The track and field standout won provincial bronze in the 400m the last year there was a competitive track season in 2019, as a Grade 10. The year before, she was a Grade 9 running with Rambler senior girls relay teams that both won 4×400 and 4×100 gold medals at the 2018 B.C. Championships.
COVID-19 has washed out competitive track since then, but she has kept training, and is ready for the next level with the Varsity Blues.
Lenton said she chose the University of Toronto because it has a strong track program with great coaches, both indoors and out. She runs 400m and 800m, and indoors the 300m and 600m, and looks forward to one day travelling with the Varsity Blues to meets in places like Florida, Arizona and New York.
Lenton also likes that it’s an excellent academic institution. She will study business, and attend the Rotman School of Management. In Grade 12 she is also strong academically, sitting at a 98 per cent average.
Lenton has left her mark on MRSS track history. She holds the school records in both the 400m and 800m events.
In addition, a school tradition is the 300 Club fitness challenge. Hundreds have tried to be part of the club, but only a handful have been successful. Lenton was the youngest person to be named to the club in Grade 9, and only the second girl ever. She beat her brother Jorrin’s record – he was the previous youngest 300 Club member.
The Lentons are a close family, and she enjoys running with her big brother, who is a hurdler for Simon Fraser University.
“I like training with him. He’s good to chat to, but he takes it seriously.”
Her father Andrew has been her coach since she started with the Eagles Track and Field Club at the age of six. For the past two years she has joined him with the Langley Mustangs, where he is the head coach. She says he has helped her be her best. They do everything together.
“He’s a phenomenal coach – he’s got the background,” she said, adding when the pressure is on, he helps bring her stress levels down. “No matter my choices, he won’t be disappointed.”
Dad is the opposite of disappointed.
“I am very proud of Jade, who follows her brother and many other Rambler track athletes to compete at the collegiate level,” said Andrew.
“Years of hard work and perseverance have paid off. I’m excited to see her continue her athletic career and academic pursuits at U of T which has a world-class coaching, facilities and academic program for her.”
Jade also mentioned Jason Hampton, her basketball coach.
“He’s been a huge supporter. He’s always super encouraging, and he’s one of the most positive people I’ve ever met.”
Not only did she play basketball, but Lenton was also on Team BC in lacrosse, and played Metro-level soccer.
Lenton remembers being a wide-eyed Grade 8 on a team of Ramblers with an amazing group of senior girls athletes. They talked about being on teams at universities, and it made her want to be there.
So signing with the Varsity Blues is reaching a goal she set out for herself a long time ago.
Now, she said, her goals shift to training and getting faster, and to one day medal at a championship for U of T.