BY IAN THORPE
Student athletes from our local school system take part each fall in cross-country running programs. Such was the case again this year and the competitive season recently concluded.
At the secondary school level, Island and B.C. championships were held earlier this month. Special congratulations go to the senior girls’ cross-country team from Nanaimo District Secondary and the senior boys’ team from John Barsby Secondary. The NDSS girls won an Island title and then claimed a silver medal at provincials, while the Barsby boys claimed both Island and B.C. championship titles.
Meanwhile, younger runners from our elementary schools have also been busy in recent weeks. For them, the season recently concluded with the Nanaimo District Elementary Cross-Country Championships held in Beban Park. Approximately 450 participants from more than two dozen schools qualified from various zone meets around the city. Organizers for the district meet were Alana Lavery and Lonnie Sullivan, assisted by a team of volunteers led by Stefan Jakobsen and Norm Thibault from Frontrunners.
Tyke (born 2010-11) ran a 1.5-kilometre distance. In the girls’ race, Azure Turner and Ruby Allison from École Quarterway were first and second respectively, while teammate Emma Murphy took fourth place. Third spot went to Megan James from Chase River and Darby Moen from École Hammond Bay rounded out the top five runners.
First and third in the tyke boys’ race went to Mountain View entrants. Bodin Olsen representing Frank J. Ney was second and Cinnabar Valley runners Baraka Gibson and Levi Cruickshank finished fourth and fifth.
For peewee (born 2008-09) athletes, the route measured two kilometres. First to the finish line in the girls’ race was Rylee Wing from Ladysmith Intermediate. In second was Amariah Zult of École Pauline Haarer, followed by McGirr’s Kenna Tait. Fourth spot went to Ava Gauthier from MountainView, with Lia Russell from Hammond Bay claiming fifth overall.
Coal Tyee competitor Gavin Eslyer was fastest in the peewee boys’ race, edging out Ladysmith’s Riley Steen in very exciting finish. Jaxon Clarke from Pleasant Valley was third, McGirr’s Tye Vaden Elsen was fourth and Coleson Chase of Mountain View fifth.
Bantam (born 2006-07) runners in the district cross-country championships raced a distance of 2.5 kilometres. Brea Gillette from Hammond Bay took first place in the girls’ division. Lucy Russell representing Gabriola was second and Lucy Merril of McGirr third. Fourth place went to Quarterway’s Avery Bernard and fifth to Hannah Duffell of Pauline Haarer.
The bantam boys’ race resulted in a district title for Rylan Clark from Pleasant Valley, who finished ahead of Quarterway’s Graedon Rataushi. Niall O’Hara of Chase River claimed third place, while fourth and fifth went to Peyton Pearce from Quarterway and Troy Lam of Mountain View.
Points earned by individual runners in all races counted toward overall team standings at the meet. The tabulated results gave Quarterway the Barry Saunders Memorial Trophy as top large school in the district. Mountain View was second, followed by Hammond Bay. For smaller schools, the Tom Krall Trophy went to Chase River Elementary. Pauline Haarer was second and Seaview third.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.