Andrew Peverill: Saint Mary's Huskies

Andrew Peverill: Saint Mary's Huskies

After a golden career, the Saint Mary’s runner leaves an indelible mark on AUS

By Corey LeBlanc

No runner has left a larger footprint on Atlantic University Sport than Andrew Peverill.

The stellar five-year career for the Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia native—one that is not yet finished—includes winning three consecutive individual gold medals in the conference’s annual cross country championships.

After completing his AUS hat trick earlier this fall, Peverill—who proudly dons the maroon and white for the Saint Mary’s Huskie—raced to sixth place at the U SPORTS national championship meet, earning first-team All-Canadian status.

His running journey, one that also includes strong showings in AUS indoor track and field, began as a junior high school student-athlete.

“I played a lot of sports,” the 23-year-old said, including hockey lacrosse and soccer and has “always been very competitive.”

Peverill started racing at the junior high level; his early success was mostly attributable to his high level of physical fitness.

“It was a bit of a process,” he explains of his development as a runner, noting that initially, its primary purpose was to help with his conditioning for other sports.

Eventually, as is often the case with high-level athletes, there is a turning point when they are catapulted to another level; that opportunity for Peverill came in the form of an invitation from well-known running mentors Alex MacEachern and Doug Mitchell with Chebucto Athletics.

“I started falling in love with the sport,” he said.

Peverill adds that as he continued to put in the hard work and commitment to developing, he became “better and better”; that success fueled his fire to focus on the sport.

After his first youth national meet appearance as a grade 9 student, he remembers—after another full year of training—making a “huge jump.” By the time he started competing at the U18 level, Peverill was ranked third in the 1,500 metres in Canada.

With his time winding down at Sackville High School, he “hadn’t really considered” where his running career would take him, although heading south of the border to the NCAA was on his radar. Joining his friend and fellow competitor from Nova Scotia, Mike Tate—an established runner from Antigonish County—at Southern Utah University was an option.

Late in the process, as far as deciding where he would study and compete in his freshman season, Peverill turned his attention to his father’s alma mater, Saint Mary’s.

“It was quite late,” he notes, adding that having the opportunity to work with Saint Mary’s head coach Kevin Heisler—a leader and mentor with an exceptional track record and credentials—sealed the deal.

He remembers, with a laugh, one of the early lessons he learned from his head coach.

“He blew that perception [I had],” Peverill said of his mindset that he was solely a long-distance runner. He added that Heisler and his teammates have “always been wonderful to work with.”

“Andrew has a lot of enthusiasm and talent,” Heisler says, along with a “super strong work ethic.” He adds that his student-athlete’s passion for running is “unparalleled.”

“Andrew has been a shining light.”

Peverill says Heisler helped make him a better student-athlete and person. He says the way student-athletes are treated at Saint Mary’s is "very rare."

When asked if he had envisioned topping the AUS podium during his varsity cross country career,” Peverill says, “I would be lying if I said I didn’t.”

Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean he ever dreamed of racing to three consecutive conference crowns. He says his keys to his unmatched success are "having fun and enjoying it."

But that doesn’t mean he isn’t serious about his craft, noting the joy he has gotten out of learning how far he could “push beyond my limits.”

“Putting everything together—that is one of the nicest feelings,” Peverill adds, noting he “loves training.”

Even though his varsity cross country career is in the rearview mirror, he continues to prepare for his final chapter as an AUS student-athlete.

This season, he will make a switch, turning his attention to the 3,000 metres. In 2022, the Saint Mary’s student-athlete raced to silver medals in the 1,000 and 1,500-metre distances.

When it comes to his most memorable moment as an AUS student-athlete, the multi-medal winner reflects on a team achievement. In 2018, Peverill and his brother, Jonathan, along with Stephen Goodyear and Drew Lefrank, raced to gold in the 4 X 800-metre at the AUS indoor championships. Andrew bested Hudson Grimshaw-Surette at the finish line to give the underdog Huskies an upset victory over the Dalhousie Tigers.

“I will never forget it,” Peverill says. “It will be incredible memory that we will always share.”

Beyond the upcoming AUS indoor season, his running future remains uncertain.

“It is a little bit tricky,” he offered, explaining the financial challenges involved in running competitively.

Peverill will take a year-to-year approach. And, if there was an opportunity to join Canada’s national team, he would be “over the moon.”

As for career aspirations, Peverill—who is in his first year of the MBA program at Saint Mary’s Sobey’s School of Business—remains undecided, although law school remains on the radar.

While reflecting on his time with the Huskies, he says choosing Saint Mary’s was “the best thing for me as a person.”

“I wouldn’t do anything differently.”




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