Brianna took top honours in the 200-metre and 400-metre snowshoes events Friday. She capped that with a 100-metre win on Saturday.
Brianna, 19, was selected to Team Nova Scotia based on her performance at the 2015 Special Olympics Nova Scotia provincial competition, held at Halifax last July. She was fairly new to the sport of snowhoes and would complete her events in the second or third division of qualifying heats.
But according to coach Maura Hunter, she fully committed to the Special Olympics Oath: “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
Hunter recognized the potential in Brianna that came with the determination of an athlete who wanted to do her best.
The coach, who has previously been selected to train international-calibre athletes, committed to working with Brianna as her training coach to help fine-tune her skills. In tandem with Brianna’s head coach, Carla Dumaresque, the three worked to help Brianna attain results no one expected.
At nationals, Brianna arrived not knowing how she would fare against competition from across Canada. The results surprised everyone, including her head coach and all the way through the spectators on hand.
With anticipation growing, Brianna took to the start line for her first race, the 400m. As the start of the race was signalled, it was obvious Brianna was going to set the pace for the other competitors.
As they rounded the corner to the finish line, the clock timed her at an amazing 30 seconds faster than her submitted time from a year ago. She finished in a time of 1:30.0, well ahead of the second-place time of 1:37.6, turned in by Floressa Harris of NL.
The 200m would see similar results leaving everyone watching – and herself –in amazement. Brianna turned in a time of 37.20 seconds to capture gold, ahead of silver medalist Valerie Delorme of Manitoba, whose time was 41.90.
In the 100m even Saturday, Brianna turned in a time of 17.60, a full two seconds ahead of second-place Delorme.
Brianna finished the weekend proudly, holding up her gold medals with a smile.