Cochrane Now is proud to name National BMX Champion Haylee Laurell our December Sports Star of the Month.

Much has been accomplished on the track by this passionate young talent.

This summer she returned from Drummondville, QC as the national 8-year-old champion. By the end of the BMX season, she added a gold medal as the provincial champion.

Not only is she killing it on the track, but she has also stepped up her efforts as a leader within the Cochrane BMX Association. She has been spending time with the younger riders in the club to help them build confidence.

While she's definitely a fierce competitor, she's also a good sport. She's known for initiating a little handshake with her competitors before and after each of her races.Haylee (in back) won both a national and provincial championship during the 2018 season. (Photo Courtesy of Rhonda Bartel)

Haylee may be only eight years old but she's been BMXing since age. 4, explains her mother Rhonda Bartel.

"She grew up watching her brother (AJ) on the track and then started herself at 4," explains Rhonda. "She was a natural right from the get-go. As a natural, things come relatively easy but last year she trained and worked extra hard to achieve her goals and she accomplished them all."

The Cochrane BMX Association is thrilled she is making a name for herself in what is traditionally a male-dominated sport. They hope her success will encourage even more girls to enjoy the sport.

“One of the things about having a girl that does so well is it draws attention to the sport and hopefully will encourage other girls, older and younger, to come out and give it a try.”

The Cochrane BMX Assoc. is a success story in itself. Last year they had over 200 registered members and became the second largest club in Alberta, second only to Edmonton.

The club has hosted provincial races in the past and this coming season have been selected to host the provincial championship for the first time. The popularity of the sport continues to grow rapidly and between 600 and 700 racers are expected to compete here Sept. 7-8.

In addition to provincial races, Haylee is also set to return to the nationals, being hosted this year in Toronto, July 6-7.

In the winter, skiing is the passion of Haylee and her family. But when the spring arrives, we know where they'll be.

"We’re right in the middle of ski season, but we’re always thinking of April and getting on the bikes again," says Rhonda.

Cochrane Now salutes the sponsors who make it possible to recognize outstanding achievements by our local athletes. Our thanks to Cochrane Awards and Promotion, Dairy Queen and A&W for their support and for providing gifts for Cochrane's Sports Stars of the Month.

Would you like to nominate a Cochrane athlete as Sports Star of the Month? Visit here.

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