Besnik Mece, Head Coach
Besnik Mece has worked for 44 years as a coach working with athletes from elementary school to university level. Eighteen of these years were in BC, where he started in 1998 as a volunteer coach in New Westminster elementary schools.
In 2000, following invitation from the New Westminster community, he began coaching at the Royal City Track and Field Club, where he initiated the first Junior Development Program in the city of New Westminster.
Leveraging his experience as the General Secretary of the Albanian Athletics Federation, where he achieved outstanding international results, in 2001, Besnik was chosen to become the assistant coach of track and field and cross country at UBC. Besnik made an invaluable contribution to the varsity teams. Training at UBC, he demonstrated outstanding dedication, volunteering numerous hours for the benefit of the Track and Field and Cross Country teams. During his tenure at UBC, he brought many elite athletes to the team who contributed to UBC varsity team victories.
He has been the founder and key contributor to many track programs including the New Westminster Junior Development Program, New West Spartans, VOC, Douglas College Running Club and the Harry Jerome Outreach Program.
In 2003 he was the meet director for the NAIA Regional Cross Country Meet in Jericho Beach Park, as well as, being a meet director for other cross country and track and field competitions. In 2010, Besnik was awarded the BC Athletics Award for JD Excellence in Coaching.
In February 2012, Besnik coached the UBC team at the Chiba Cross Country Invitational in Chiba, Japan.
He also coached the BC Provincial Junior Cross Country Team in 2005 and 2013, as well as, the BC Junior Provincial middle/long distance team in 2011 and 2014, at the Canadian National Championships.
From 2007 onwards, his athletes won 52 medals at the Canadian National Championships, 29 of them as Canadian Champions. As the Technical Director of the VOC and New West Spartans Athletics Programs, he is coaching 9 athletes working towards the Olympics. Many of these athletes have also successfully competed in international meets and at the World Youth and Junior Championships
During the 2016 Track and Field season, two athletes were ranked top 6 at an international level.
Thomas Nobbs, of the VOC, is a double Canadian Youth Champion in 3000m and 2000m Steeplechase, and is ranked # 5 in 2000m Steeplechase on the IAAF World List for Youth.
Nina Schultz, of New West Spartans, finished sixth in the heptathlon with 5639 points, a new BC provincial record, at World Junior Championships, in Bydgoszcz-Poland.
Other significant achievements of Besnik’s athletes include:
1. Devan Wiebe, two consecutive years as the BC Champion in 800m, achieving the University Standard and PB of 2:03.21
2. Anastase Eliopoulos and Jasper Schiedel, with Silver and Bronze at Canadian Junior Championships
Besnik has a Level Three Technical coaching certificate in middle and long distance and he has completed a Level 2 certificate in middle/long distance and sprint, as well as, hurdles.
As an athlete, Besnik was a National Champion in 3000m Steeplechase and member of the Albanian National Team from 1973-1975. He competed internationally in middle and long distance events.
Besnik graduated from the University of Sports in Tirana- Albania with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education.
Before moving to Canada, Besnik worked for many years as the Director of the Organization and Human Recourses of the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport in Albanian Government, and he was the leader of many Albanian Athletics and Cultural delegations at major international events.
Tatjana Mece, Head Coach and Conditioning Coach
Tatjana Mece has 36 years of coaching experience from elementary school to university level, eighteen of which have been in BC, where she started in 1998 – 2000 as a volunteer coach in New Westminster schools.
She was invited by the New West community to begin coaching at the Royal City Track and Field Club in 2000, where she initiated the first Junior Development Program in the city of New Westminster. There she trained athletes in the areas of jumps, sprints, hurdles and combined events.
After many years experience teaching PE at University of Tirana – Albania, in 2008, she started training athletes at UBC, as a track and field assistant coach for jumps with the varsity team.
She is very knowledgeable, positive, and has made an invaluable contribution to the varsity teams of UBC and Douglas College Running Club, where she is continues as an assistant coach. She brought many elite athletes to UBC, including medal winners from major Provincial and National championships.
Tatjana was an initiator and builder of many track programs in BC, including New West Spartans, VOC, Douglas College Running Club, and Harry Jerome Outreach program. During all those years, Tatjana has demonstrated outstanding dedication and volunteered numerous hours for the benefit of the programs.
Over the years, Tatjana co-organized and co-managed varsity events in track and field and cross country at UBC including the 2003 NAIA Regional Cross Country Meet at Jericho Beach, as well as, other cross country competitions. She was also Technical Meet Co-Director for UBC hosted competitions for the last few years and for many VOC Elementary Track Meets.
She began working with athletes at the VOC in 2004 and her athletes won 52 medals at Canadian Championships with 29 Champion titles, many of them ranked first in the country in their events.
In 2013, two of her athletes, competed successfully at the World Youth Track and Field Championship in Donetsk – UKR. These athletes were Stephanie Cho, who was ranked 9th, and Mihailo Stefanovic who was ranked 21st, in the semifinals of his respective events of 400mH and in 110mH.
In 2015, two other athletes trained by Tatjana, competed successfully at the World Youth Championships in Cali, Columbia. Nina Schultz, who was ranked 11th in heptathlon, with a new Canadian record of 5406 points, was also ranked first in the country in High Jump for Youth and Junior category. Jasper Schiedel was ranked 20th in the Decathlon, with new Canadian record of 6526 points.
During the 2016 Track and Field season, two other athletes were ranked in top 6th place at an international level.
Thomas Nobbs, of the VOC, is a double Canadian Youth Champion in 3000m and 2000m Steeplechase, and is ranked # 5 in 2000m Steeplechase on the IAAF World List for Youth. Nina Schultz, of the New West Spartans, finished sixth in heptathlon with 5639 points, a new BC Provincial record, at World Junior Championships, in Bydgoszcz-Poland.
Other great achievements of her athletes include:
1. Devan Wiebe, two consecutive years as BC Champion in 800m with University Standard of PB 2:03.21
2. Anastase Eliopoulos and Jasper Schiedel, with Silver and Bronze at Canadian Junior Championships.
Tatjana was an international level athlete and National Champion in High Jump (1975-1979) and Pentathlon. She was member of the Albanian National Team 1975-1980, competing in High Jump, Pentathlon and the 4x100m relay in many international track meets, including the European Championships.
She graduated from University of Sports in Tirana- Albania with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education and Track and Field.
Tatjana has completed the Level 2 certificate in sprint hurdles and middle/long distance and the Level 3 Technical certificate in middle and long distance.
She was a 2007 BC Award winner of JD Excellence in Coaching, and was awarded the “2013 BC Excellence in Coaching” for the senior coach category.
Tatjana was a BC Provincial Coach for Jumps and Combined events in 2013 and the sprint and hurdles coach at the 2014 Canadian Legion Championships.
Steve Nobbs, Middle Distance and Cross Country Coach
Steve adds coaching VOC athletes in middle distance and cross country to his distinguished track and cross country competitive career. Steve has represented and competed at all age levels from JD to Senior level at State and National levels in middle distances and cross country in his native country of Australia. He also competed as a senior athlete in select internationally hosted track meets in Australia against the world’s best at the time. As co-owner of The Run Inn in Vancouver he continues to serve the running community as well as support his son who competes for VOC.
Jerin Mece, Coordinator and Junior Development Coach
Jerin has coached track and field since 2007 as an assistant coach of the Jerome Outreach Program for Inner City schools. He has been the Assistant Coach of the Junior Development Program at the VOC since 2009. Jerin brings excellent coaching skills and a passion for working with young athletes. He was a middle, long distance and cross country runner with NWSS, UBC and Douglas College. Jerin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education and Coaching.