Commitment pays off for Goveia
Isabella Goveia got off to a great start in her high school track and field career.
The Grade 12 student at Sir Winston Churchill, who recently committed to run track and cross country for the University of Windsor, placed fifth in the novice girls 800 metres at the Ontario Federation of Secondary Schools Association championships in 2019. But then COVID hit.
“Like hundreds of other track and field athletes across the province, dreams of competing at OFSAA again or winning an OFSAA medal were put on hold for the last two years,” Thorold Elite Track Club coach Steve Fife said.
But the 17-year-old St. Catharines native never lost focus.
“I was always continuing to train and looking forward to what was coming up whether it was a time trial or whatever,” Goveia said. “I knew the pandemic was going to end and I was going to be ready when it did.”
She was motivated to train six days a week and sometimes seven during cross country season.
“It was knowing how much potential I have and running has always been a part of my life,” she said. “I have been running since Grade 4 and it is such a thrill when I am doing workouts to be always pushing myself. It wasn’t something I was going to lose.”
She has been running on Churchill’s cross country and track teams since Grade 9. In Grade 10, she ran cross country for the senior team and helped it win an antique bronze at the OFSAA championships.
“It was the last OFSAA before COVID and it was a lot of fun and a really important racing season,” she said.
Goveia has been running indoors and outdoors as much as she can and she specializes in the 800 and 400 metres.
“My best accomplishment was in Grade 10 when I won the U18 provincials indoors for the 400 (metres).”
Last fall, she placed third in the senior girls division at the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association cross country championships.
She is looking forward to competing for Churchill this spring in the 400 metres, 800 metres and 4X100 and 4X400 relays.
“I want to go as far as I can and hopefully that is OFSAA. I want to run the best I can and maybe get a podium at OFSAA.”
Fife is a big fan of Goveia’s.
“Isabella is an athlete who really demonstrates the meaning of commitment. And when you look at how successful she is academically and how much she is involved in her school community it only makes her athletic achievements even more impressive,” he said. “It takes a lot of commitment and a lot of discipline to excel in so many different areas and to do it with poise and grace and I think that is what makes her a desirable student-athlete.”
Goveia feels she has made good strides as a runner in last two years.
“Throughout the pandemic, I was always trying to find little ways to make myself better and now I have my full training program back in effect, I am able to do that as well and apply everything that I have learned the past two years,” she said.
“It’s drinking more water, doing core work and strengthening myself.”
There’s no secret what she needs to take the next step as a runner.
“She really needs the opportunity to have some challenging races that are going to push her to perform at the level she is capable of and hopefully those races are going to be at OFSAA,” Fife said.
At the recent under-20 indoor provincial championships, Goveia narrowly missed out on a bronze medal in the 800 metres after running a personal best indoor time of 2:18.63.
She was attracted to Windsor for a number of reasons.
“My school volleyball coach, Mr. (Brent) Mergl, who is also a track coach, was the one who suggested Windsor and their coach Colin (Inglis). He had a lot of good things to say about him and my family lives near Windsor too. They were strongly suggesting it and they have a good engineering program there as well.”
Goveia isn’t worried about juggling a tough academic program with her running.
“I am looking forward to it because I am really passionate about physics, calculus and the whole engineering thing. I didn’t see myself studying anything else but engineering.”
She is looking forward to being a student-athlete.
“It is the challenge and leaning entirely new concepts because right now school is just giving us the basic knowledge, I am looking forward to expanding on that more,” she said. “For running, I am looking forward to be a part of a team that’s really connected and I am really excited to work with Colin too.”