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Submitted by Christine Whelan

MAY 13, 2021 VOL. 2 ISSUE 19

Adam Woehl is running his way through university and on to what sounds like a very enthusiastic future. Born in Welland, raised in Ridgeway, Adam is getting ready to graduate in a couple months and set off to Kingston to attend Queen’s University.

It Started As Something For Fun

Adam started running in elementary school. “I wanted to do cross country because it was the first sport that I could actually do. In Grade 3, I started just doing it for fun.” He added, he went to Stevensville Public School. “I didn’t get into complete training for cross country until around Grade 6, when I was introduced to track coach, Ray Benard. He has guided me through my last two years of elementary school and then high school. His training has made me love the sport and has gotten me to where I am today.”

Adam admitted, “I didn’t think I was going to like it, actually. I surprised myself. I was pretty good at it without any training when I was younger.”

Adam’s mom, Diana, re-enforced, “He was just doing it for fun at first, but Ray Benard has really been a huge influence on Adam in so many ways.” Referring to Benard, “He used to have a track club of his own in St. Catharines and coached hundreds of kids that went on to scholarships. Ray moved to Stevensville and approached the school, offering to volunteering his time to train kids who like to run.”

She admitted, “If it wasn’t for Ray, I don’t think Adam would be where he is.” She said that Benard had written an article about Adam a couple years ago, calling him ‘Fort Erie’s Rising Sun’.

Diana shared some of her son’s accomplishments, including, “He won the Crystal Beach 5k in October of 2019. For three years, he competed at OFSAA, which are the provincial championships for the high schools.”

When asked how school has been for him during these days, Adam shared, “School is going very well for me. For the last two years, its been difficult obviously, with COVID, but I really enjoy what I’m doing in school.” Adam explained the academic part of his life. “I was able to specialize and get away from the classes I didn’t like as much. I thought I was going to be going in for the Sciences but, in Grade 11, I found out that wasn’t my strong suit. I leaned towards the business and politics side of school. I really got into that and that is what a lot of my courses are about now, so I’m really enjoying my last year.”

Academics First

The 18-year-old talked about priorities. “For me, it was always academics first. My coach even put that first. He wanted me to succeed in school. My parents were also all about that. Running was always second. I’ve been able to balance them evenly fairly well. But, I always have to put education first.”

Diana explained, “He applied to five universities and has been accepted to them all but Queen’s had the best of the academics and running combination.”

Woehl talked about moving forward. “I just got a program a couple days ago from Mark Bomba, the coach at Queen’s, that I’m starting up. I’m about to start some more weight training just to get back into cycle. I had taken a little time off during COVID. I found it a little hard to keep going at the same time as doing school online.

Diana shared how she and Adam’s father, Matt, are excited to see Adam move on to the next step. “The pandemic has been so hard on the kids, especially those who are at this stage, when the last years are so important to their lives, moving into adulthood.”

Matt commented, “We’re very proud of him. We’re proud of the young man he’s grown into. We think that the discipline and the perseverance that he’s learned through running has helped him turn into the young man that he is.”

Adam will be going straight to university after high school. “I plan on running all four years, five years depending on if anything changes. I’m taking Politics, Philosophy and Economics.”

And in looking even further ahead, Adam included, “After university, I plan on attending law school, but things change. I’m not 100% sure how things are going to go. I want to keep my options open.”

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