The athletic department at UBC’s Okanagan campus recently announced Nikki and Nathan Reiter as head coaches of the school’s cross-country running team. The duo joined long-time coach Brian Rhodes last fall, and enjoyed some success with eight UBC O runners taking part in the CCAA national championships this past November. With Rhodes deciding to retire at the end of the season, Nikki and Nathan took advantage of the opportunity to take on the team themselves.
“I am very pleased with the level of commitment and expertise shown by Nikki and Nathan,” says Director of Athletics and Recreation, Rob Johnson. “By stepping up this year, it has allowed the department to continue to offer our growing student body more choices to compete as a part of their university experience.” Nikki and Nathan are new to the Okanagan area but bring valuable experience to UBC’s Okanagan campus as they both have experience as coaches and both former CIS athletes.
Nikki hails from Windsor, Ontario, where she competed for her hometown Windsor Lancers in Cross Country and Track & Field, while she studied kinesiology at both the undergraduate and graduate level, obtaining a master’s degree in Biomechanics. Nikki has coached many local Windsor athletes at the high school and club level through the Windsor Legion Track & Field Club, many of whom went on to obtain NCAA scholarships or experience tremendous success in the CIS.
Originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Nathan competed for five seasons in the CIS, pulling double duty as a member of the Cross Country and Track team for the McMaster Marauders and the Windsor Lancers. Over the course of his competitive career, he collected three OUA (Ontario University Athletics) bronze medals, two OUA gold medals, one CIS gold medal, one CIS silver medal, and one CIS bronze medal. Nathan has been a strong leader, serving in a variety of leadership roles such as team captain, club president and alumni coordinator.The couple now based out of Kelowna hopes to further develop and establish a competitive Heat Cross Country program.
“Currently the team is competing in the CCAA (Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association) but we hope the program can make the jump to CIS competition in the next few years,” says Nathan “We are very excited to get this opportunity and feel UBC’s Okanagan campus has the potential to produce top quality cross country athletes. It will take a ton of work to get the fledgling program to that level, but this is our passion, and we are ready to put the effort in to make it happen.”
“Our first step will be getting involved with the local running scene,” continues Nathan. Both coaches have started in with the local coaching scene with the Okanagan Athletics Club, working with both varsity and masters aged athletes. In addition, Nathan has teamed up with local Olympian Malindi Elmore to deliver running expertise and coaching to the Kelowna running community.
The current members of the team will keep training on their own over the summer, but come September Nikki and Nathan will look to increase the number of runners on the team as well as continue to increase the quality of runner at UBC’s Okanagan campus.