Training and competing in top level sport whilst studying for your A-levels can be challenging, but for one student, cross country running has been the release that has enabled her to pursue her dreams of becoming a vet.
17-year-old Olivia Stones, from Leigh, is currently studying Maths, Biology and Chemistry at Winstanley College and has just had an offer through from Bristol University for a Veterinary Science degree. What makes Olivia’s achievement even more impressive is that alongside all the work that goes into being made such an offer, she has also been representing her county at national level in cross country running – and winning medals!
At the Inter-Counties Cross Country competition, in Stockport, Olivia came 4th, meaning she was selected to represent the Greater Manchester team at Loughborough University on 11th March. This was a tough 6k course with a couple of undulations and muddy patches, but the team battled through coming 2nd out of 25 counties.
Olivia also had great success at The English Schools Championships in Norwich recently. All the counties in England raced against each other, with her Greater Manchester team coming in 3rd out of the 37 counties running.
To top off a month of running achievements, just last week, Olivia received an offer from her first choice University, Bristol, for a Veterinary Science degree. The offer follows years of work experience at her local vets as well as studying hard at her A-levels and taking part in Winstanley College’s Medics, Dentists and Vets preparatory course.
So, how do you make time to pursue sporting dreams at the same time as achieving such academic success? Olivia’s take on it is that ‘Running is what keeps me sane. It gives me a release, something which can divert my thoughts from the demands of college by focusing my mind elsewhere. It provides me with mental and physical wellbeing which enables me to study far more efficiently and has taught me the dedication and determination required to continually push myself to achieve my potential.’
‘Balancing college, running and a social life can be challenging, it requires organisation, discipline and an acceptance that you can’t always do everything and that in some circumstances you must prioritise what is most important for you personally and your aspirations in the long term.’