Left to right: Hyatt Smith and Kevin Wiens sign their letters of intent with UBC. Standing are MSS Roadrunners head coach Kevin Watrin (left) and school principal Jim Pearce.

Left to right: Hyatt Smith and Kevin Wiens sign their letters of intent with UBC. Standing are MSS Roadrunners head coach Kevin Watrin (left) and school principal Jim Pearce.

Smith, Wiens UBC-bound

Coach Kevin Watrin not surprised by players’ success

A pair of Mission gridiron greats are changing their feathers come September.

Offensive standouts Kevin Wiens and Hyatt Smith are taking their game to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds after signing letters of intent recently.

Both players contemplated a number of options, including heading to Kingston, Ont. to play for the Golden Gales at Queens University and taking the NCAA route through Simon Fraser, but settled on UBC after lengthy consideration.

The pair said continuing to be able to play together after their success in Mission was one of the leading factors in making the choice.

“It’s going to be great heading to school with Kevin,” said Smith. “I think it will make the transition easier and I can’t wait to get going.”

Smith, who played wide receiver for the Roadrunners, is coming of a torn ACL that cost him most of his senior year. After surgery in December, the focus has been on rehabbing his knee and hitting the books. While football has a storied tradition at UBC, academics always come first. That was also a leading factor in where the two decided to continue their education.

“It was definitely a combination of athletics and being able to get a great education,” said Smith. “I was really impressed with the campus.”

While Smith works his way back to health — doctors estimate he’ll be healed up by June —  Wiens has been working on his game south of the border.

He joined the top provincial football prospects on Team B.C. for a road trip in early January to Texas for two exhibition games. Team B.C. faced a squad of European all-stars and a highly anticipated match against the U.S.

Wiens, who along with Smith won back-to-back provincial titles in Grades 10 and 11, said while Team B.C. was confident going into the game against their European counterparts, the same can’t be said when they were lining up against the Americans.

“Things went pretty much as we expected against Europe,” noted Wiens, who recorded an interception in Team BC’s 49-14 thrashing of the overseas’s team. “But when it was time to play against the States, you get a little bit worried.”

Wiens had every right to be nervous. Not only were they playing against the U.S., they were playing in the great state of Texas, where the only thing more popular than football is, well, more football. There are more than 1,300 high school football facilities in the Lone Star State, 10 of them seating 16,000-plus.

Playing in Texas, in his mind, was a completely different animal. That is, until the contest started.

“Once the game got underway, that nervousness went away. We played really well and showed we could compete,” said Wiens.

So much so that Team BC completed its own proverbial football clinic, trouncing their American counterparts 38-18.

“It’s a huge boost of confidence,” said Wiens, who helped lead his team to the provincial finals in 2012, losing to South Delta 31-14.

The success of both players is no surprise to Roadrunners head coach Kevin Watrin. He said the pair put in the hard work needed to take their game to the next level, both on the field and in the classroom. With long days of travel on game days, school work has to fit into the schedule when it can. He said their success is shared with the team’s coaching staff and the commitment of teachers who put in the extra time helping student athletes meet their educational goals.

“This confirms what we preach at the school,” said Watrin. “We want to win on the field but we strive for success in the classroom. It’s testament to all the hard work by the boys and the teachers who give up their time to make sure students succeed academically as well.”

Just Posted

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

Emergency services were on the scene of an apparent stabbing Friday afternoon (June 11) in the 2400 block of Countess Street in Abbotsford. (Photo: Kaytlin Harrison)
Two suspects arrested after apparent stabbing in Abbotsford

Incident occurs Friday afternoon in 2400 block of Countess Street

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read