Kaley Starr has experienced hockey on and off the ice for as long as she can remember, but only recently took on the challenge of expanding her sport career to include athletics.
Starr was raised in a household that valued the sport community and as a result, from a young age the athlete was instilled with a drive to excel in whatever sport she chose to pursue. It first began with hockey, which she was introduced to over a decade ago, joining in on a family passion for the sport. Now in high school, she continues to excel on the ice, recently joining the Parkland Fire in the Saskatchewan Female Hockey League’s U18 division as a rookie.
However, a little over a year ago, Starr began to explore athletics. It turns out, the transition from skates and ice to sneakers and track was no issue for the young athlete and has even brought her success at the national level.
“I joined athletics for fun and wasn’t really serious about the sport until I attended the North American Indigenous Games [NAIG],” said Starr. “I was introduced to athletics about a year before NAIG and only found out about the Games a few months before.”
Starr’s previous training and commitment to continuous exercise gave her the endurance to excel in athletics. The jump from AA hockey to competing in a national competition that focused on her skills in athletics proved to be a simple task. Finding the time to train in both sports, however, was what challenged Starr the most.
“It is kind of difficult to balance both sports, but it’s fun and I find both of my sports help me in the other,” laughed Starr. “Running helps me with my endurance in hockey and hockey helps me in the same way for running.”
All of Starr’s training efforts paid off at NAIG, including her greatest triumph, a gold medal in the 4×400-metre relay, came as a surprise to everyone, even her.
“I wasn’t registered to compete in the 4 x 400-m race. One of my teammates was injured and I was put in as an alternate,” she said.
While at NAIG, Starr also competed in three other 16U female races at the event, placing eighth in the 800-m, fifth in the 1200-m and sixth in the 200-m. The finishes and gold medal culminated in an incredible first appearance at the Games for Starr and it’s one that she’s going to remember as a highlight of her career for a while.
“NAIG was an amazing experience, from making new friends to seeing the ocean,” said Starr. “Attending was one of my biggest accomplishments in athletics.”