Elementary school athletes can run a long way

The season recently culminated with the annual Nanaimo District Cross-Country Championships.

Athletes in our local educational system know that each fall is highlighted by the cross country running season. For those at the elementary level, the season recently culminated with the annual Nanaimo District Cross-Country Championships.

This year’s meet was held on Nov. 3 and coordinator Larry Dean sends word that approximately 450 young runners took part in what he described as a “wet but fun” day. Those involved represented some 25 schools and had qualified through zone meets held earlier.

The district championship was comprised of six races of varying lengths starting and finishing at the Rotary Bowl stadium. District teachers, administrators and parents helped with the organizing, together with community volunteers from Frontrunners.

Those in the tyke (born 2007-08) division ran a distance of 1.5 kilometres. For girls, Lucy Merrill of McGirr took first place, with Hannah Duffell from Pauline Haarer the runner-up. Hammond Bay’s Brea Gillette and Naiah Kulla were third and fourth and fifth place went to Avery Bernard representing École Océane.

Ryan Christenson from North Oyster took top spot in the tyke boys’ competition, followed by Ryan Clark of Pleasant Valley. Others in the top five were Holden West of Cilaire, Mitchell Kis-Toth from Ladysmith Intermediate and Mountain View’s Troy Lam.

For peewee (born 2005-06) runners, the race distance was 2 km. Sebryn Wear from Park Avenue was the first finisher in the girls’ race. McGirr’s Samantha Jones was second, followed by Mountain View runners Aynsley Norman and Keira Murphy and Katelyn Putz from Cinnabar Valley.

In the boys’ race, Dylan Barberie from Quarterway was first to the finish line, ahead of Mountain View’s Kynan Shurniak. Zachary Croome from Pauline Haarer was third, Patrick Canning of Park Avenue fourth and Benedek Horwath representing Rock City fifth.

At the bantam (born 2003-04) age level, entrants competed over a 2.5 km distance. Top individual finishers in the girls’ race were led by Bailey Rossnagel from Hammond Bay. Runner-up was Isabelle Parsons of Pauline Haarer, with Alexa Berg of McGirr taking third, Pauline Haarer runner Danika Vogels was fourth and Devin Moore from Quarterway took fifth place.

Cinnabar Valley runner Jayden Watson earned first place in the bantam boys’ race. Placing second was Gus Johnson from Mountain View. Patrick Osakabe from Rock City finished third, William Merrill of McGirr was fourth and Marcus Saywell from Mountain View was fifth overall.

In addition to ribbons for individual finishers, team points were also awarded to each school based on the placement of its runners. When those points were tabulated, Hammond Bay and Quarterway finished in a tie for first place for large schools with an enrolment of 310 or more students. As a result, the two schools will share the Barry Saunders Memorial Trophy. In second place came Mountain View, followed by McGirr and Rock City.

In a separate calculation for smaller schools, Pauline Haarer claimed the Tom Krall Trophy. Cilaire finished in second place, ahead of Departure Bay, Seaview and Frank J. Ney Elementary.

In a future column we’ll review results from secondary school cross-country competitions.

Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.

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