Langley's Megan Champoux is running in the 400m hurdles for Canada at the world youth Games in Cali

Champoux set for next hurdle

Langley competitor will be among the youngest at world youth Games in Colombia

Hurdling comes naturally for Megan Champoux.

Growing up, riding horses has been a daily habit for the Langley teenager.

She has been riding since she was three or four years old, but her mom Sarah wanted her daughter — then nine years old — to give another sport a try, to go alongside her equestrian passion.

And while Champoux was a bit hesitant to try track and field, the sport came naturally.

“When I was little, I used to go outside and I used to jump and pretend I was a horse,” Champoux explained.

“But then the hurdles just came naturally; I had been jumping my whole life. It just stuck.”

And now, the 15-year-old is representing Canada at the world youth track and field championships in Cali, Colombia.

Champoux is one of two Langley teenagers to make the squad, alongside Dean Ellenwood.

The pair are both members of the Langley Mustangs Track and Field Club.

“Megan is one of the most dedicated athletes and has a real passion for competition,” said Jarid Vaughn, her coach with the Mustangs.

He said that she rarely has to be told something twice and has a fantastic work ethic and is not surprised

“It is really indescribable,” she said.

“I am so proud I get to compete for Canada; it is all really, really excited and I am looking forward to it.

“I am just thrilled that I get to go.”

To qualify to represent Canada at the world meet, an athlete had to better a specific time or distance in their chosen event, as well as be ranked first or second in that event by a certain date.

And Champoux — who is ranked second in the country for her event — set her time at the B.C. high school track and field championships back on June 6 at McLeod Athletic Park. She crossed the finish line in first place with a time of 1:00.56, a full second better than her previous best at that distance.

With time still remaining for another athlete to knock Champoux from one of the two positions, it made for a tense couple of weeks until Athletics Canada released the final roster on June 22.

“I was beyond excited when I found out I got to go,” she said.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet (that I am going), but I am sure it will once I get there.

“I am going to be super nervous but I am just hoping I can run a better time.”

The athletes are scheduled to leave for Colombia on July 9 with the competition running from July 15 to 19.

Champoux is one of the younger competitors at the meet as she does not turn 16 until later this year and her goal is to qualify for the world junior (U19) championships next summer in Russia.

Beyond that, the home-schooled student who is entering Grade 11, wants to work towards earning a scholarship to compete in track and field for her post-secondary education.

“I’m looking forward to her accelerating even more as her career progresses,” Vaughn said.

A former NCAA sprinter himself, Vaughn said Champoux’s times — despite just finishing her Grade 10 year — are already good enough to earn an NCAA scholarship.

She is also an accomplished equestrian athlete, riding up to five horses a day.

Champoux is hoping to compete at the Grand Prix level and is currently showing in the 1.25m and junior hunter divisions.