The first two recipients of a new award were acknowledged Monday morning at UNBC.
In November 2013 the University of Northern BC and the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club partnered to create the UNBC Northern Sport Leadership awards that offer full-tuition scholarships to elite cross-country skiers and biathlon athletes.
The recipients of the awards are Jarod Algra and Erica Kreitz.
Algra, who comes from Abbotsford and is studying physics at UNBC, got the full-tuition scholarship. Algra represented the province in biathlon at the 2015 Canada Winter Games and was a member of the relay team which placed fourth.
The full-tuition award recognizes athletes who train at a national level and demonstrate sports and academic excellence.
"The full-tuition scholarship recipient is expected to keep doing what he's been doing, so he's expected to continue to pursue sporting excellence while studying at UNBC ," said Ryan. "This is a unique opportunity in the province where Jarod can come to Prince George, study at post-secondary and also take the opportunity to train so this is a fantastic opportunity."
Algra has some big goals in mind for his future athletic career.
"I will definitely continue racing and we'll see but I'm looking at competing at the 2017 World University Games," said Algra.
The Northern Sport Leadership awards are endowed and have surpassed the original goal of $150,000 and has currently raised more than $180,000.
"We put that money together in less time than we expected and got more than we expected," said Ryan. "These awards would not have been possible without the generosity of our donors and our community. Prince George has always been known as a community that gives and gives and gives and we here at UNBC really appreciate the support of our students."
Members of the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club supported the award and the biggest single donation came from Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines with a $50,0000 donation.
Because the amount exceeded expectations, another $1,000 award was created along with the full-tuition award.
Kreitz, who grew up in Prince George, got a $1,000 award. Kreitz was an alternate for Team BC at the Canada Winter Games in cross-country skiing and was a guide for an Ontario Para-Nordic skier. She's competed with the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club for the last five years, was a member of the junior national talent squad and will coach younger athletes at the club this winter. Kreitz studies biochemistry at UNBC.
"Skiing is something that's very close to me and that I will continuing doing," said Kreitz.
"What this endowment means is that this award can be offered annually forever," said Dr. Dan Ryan, acting provost, stepping in for Dr. Daniel Weeks, UNBC president, who was absent because his plane was delayed Monday morning due to fog.
Each athlete who received an award is recognized for their achievements as well as their volunteerism, leadership and ongoing promotion of their sport.