Runners Brave Stormy Conditions at BC XC Championships

Two veteran cross country runners posted victories in the senior men and women’s
divisions of the BC Athletics Cross Country Championships held Saturday at Abbotsford’s
Clearbrook Park.

The men’s senior 10-k race was won by University of Oregon graduate Chris Winter who
ran in a group that included a half dozen other runners during most of the distance. But
over the last two kilometers the North Vancouver native, who has been living and training
in Ontario for the past several years, put on a burst that powered him to victory. Winter
covered the five loops of the 2-k course in a time of 32:25 to place in front of Olympian
Geoff Martinson (Prince George) who was second 32:43 with the ever-improving Blair
Johnston, representing Trinity Western University, third (32:49).

“Running at Clearbrook Park brought back fond memories for me of the time I won the BC
High School meet at this same site,” stated Winter after his win. “It’s an excellent place for
cross country running and with just a little more work on areas that have a few too many
rocks, it would compare favorably with sites I have run on at such meets as the World
Championships,” stated the winner.

The senior women’s 6-k run was won by Natasha Fraser who last May was the first
Canadian finisher at the Vancouver Sun Run. Fraser, in similar fashion to Winter, ran
comfortably through the first 4-k but then put on a spurt that opened up a 180-meter lead.
Fraser won the race in the time of 21:30 with Rachel Cliff of Vancouver Thunderbirds,
another BC runner that spent her university days in Eastern Canada (Guelph University),
second (22:03). Fiona Benson (Trinity Western), who two years ago took part in the junior
division of the World CC championships, captured the bronze medal (22:51).

Kayla Stone of Kamloops, the odds on favorite to win the girl’s race this coming Saturday at the BC High school meet in Prince George, bounced back from a rare defeat at the Okanagan high school meet, to win the junior women’s 5-k race. Stone ran most of the distance in a group of four that included Valley Royal Alex Siemens, but over the last 1-k she took control and won the competition with a time of 18:25. Emma Balazs, a talented runner from Prince George, came second (18:40) with Siemens third (18:47).

Fifteen-year old Callum Pilgrim, who Wednesday won the senior girl’s division of the Fraser
Valley High School Championship, produced a winning effort for the host Valley Royals.
Pilgrim stayed close to the leaders through the first part of the 3-k distance but over the last 400-meters she put on a spurt to win the race in 10:28.05. Second place went to Hershey Harriers Nicole Hutchinson (10:35) with White Rock’s Chelsea Ribeiro third (10:43).

Other races saw Levi Neufeld (Trinity Western) place first in the 18-19 boy’s 6-k race
(22:45), Jesse Hooton (Hershey Harriers) was first in the Youth boy’s 5-k (16:08) and
Miryam Bassett (Oceanside), who is also a serious contender for honors at next week’s
provincial high school meet, won the Youth women’s 4-k run (16:20).

Five hundred fifty athletes registered for the various races in a competition that will be held
at the same venue again in 2013.

In the junior development division of the meet, Royal Olivia McAuley placed second
in the nine year old girl’s race as she covered the 1.5-k distance in 7:17 placing just one
second behind winner Alicia Bremer of New Westminster.

Mouat Senior Girls XC Team Dominates Fraser Valley Championships

W.J. Mouat’s senior girls cross country team took the top three places at the Fraser Valley Cross Country Championships held Wednesday on a hilly course at Aldergrove Park.

Hawk runners dominated the 4.5-k race with Callum Pilgrim finishing first (16:48), Alicia Unruh second (16:55) and Alex Siemens in third (17:03). The two other scoring members of the Mouat team were Sarya Ross in eighteenth and Amanda Thompson who finished in 39th.

Mouat accumulated a low score of 43 pts and easily won the team title placing ahead of last year’s champion Walnut Grove (74 pts.), Charles Best (78 pts.) and a surprisingly strong Abbotsford Christian team (88 pts.). Nineteen teams and 177 runners took park in the senior girl’s event.

The three Mouat medalists were in a race of their own for most of course. Siemens’ led for a majority of the first 3-k but then Pilgrim took over and opened up a gap of 50-meters to win the race by eight seconds.

Mouat will now be one of the favored teams when the provincial championships take place in Prince George on November 3.

Other performances by Abbotsford runners at yesterday’s meet included:
Junior Girls:
3rd Hannah Konrad (Yale)—qualifies for Provincials
14th Delaney Chapman—(Abbotsford Traditional)

Senior Boys:
20th Peter Mitchell (Mouat)—qualifies for Provincials

Callum Pilgrim Leads Royals at Sunfair Meet

Yakima, WA, Oct. 7—Valley Royal and WJ Mouat cross country runner
Callum Pilgrim had had an outstanding performance at the Sunfair High School Invitational cross country meet held Saturday in Yakima, Washington.

Pilgrim, an all round athlete who is pursuing cross country running for the first time, placed second in her flight 5-race held over a very hilly three mile course at Lincoln Park. The grade 10 athlete held the lead until the last 400-meters of her race but was eventually passed by Idaho’s Emily Callahan.

Pilgrim’s time of 18:26 was the third best performance of the day amongst the girl’s competitions and the second fastest time ever in the flight five race. Pilgrim stated to her coach that she knew exactly where and why she lost the race but felt that the experience would be valuable to her development as a quality runner.

Alexandra Siemens, who also attends Mouat, ran a strategic race in the flight 7 race and kept pace with the leaders over the first half of the course but during the final kilometer she had some trouble and had to settle for a third place finish.

Peter Mitchell, yet another Mouat runner, had a good performance and
placed third in flight 1 of the boy’s competition. Mitchell, a grade 11 athlete from Mouat and in his first season of cross country running, had a competitive run and finished with a time of 17:49.

Other solid performances for the Royals saw 13-year old Gabrielle MacGregor place ninth in the girls’ junior varsity run, Jennifer Kell (grade 10) came second in flight 2, Ashley Heisler was fifth in flight 1, Erica Johnson was eighth in the girl’s junior varsity run and Delaney Chapman was second in the grade 10 girl’s competition.

Alexandra Siemens Posts Cross Country Win at Ocean Athletics Meet

Sat., September 29, 2012: Alex Siemens was first in the senior high school girls’ division of the Ocean Athletics meet held Saturday at Crescent Beach Park. Siemens covered the 4-k course in a time of 12:48 to place seven seconds in front of Miryan Bassett (Naniamo) and nine seconds ahead of the third place finisher Rebecca Basset.

It was a good test for Siemens as next week she will travel with her teammates to Yakima, WA for the Sunfair meet. The trip was originally scheduled for this past Saturday but brush fires in the area caused a severe smoke hazard and the organizers had to postpone the meet for health reasons. Cooler temperatures have now remedied the situation and all is set for this coming Saturday.

Placing 7th in the high school girl’s division was Sarya Ross (13:39) while Ashley Heisler came up with a good performance to place 11th (14:20). Oliver Jorgensen got his season off to a good start by placing fifth the senior boys 5-k race posting a time of 17:34. Teammates Peter Mitchelle, a grade 10 runner, was 14th (18:36) and Arsh Ganda finished in 32nd position.

Jennifer Kell had a strong effort in the 13-year old girl’s race placing second (12:26) with teammate Delaney Chapman, a much improved cross country runner, coming fourth (13:14).

Aidan Bingert, who has had limited practice time this season because of injury, placed 5th in the 15-year old boys’ division covering the 3-k course in 11:43.

A number of junior development runners took part in the meet. In the nine year old girls’ run Amy Brandt was sixth ((5:48) and Olivia McAuley 7th (5:18) while in the 10-year old boy’s 2-k run, Kai MacKenzie placed 8th followed by Parker Janzen in 11th (9:59) and Aaron Boschman 16th (11:07).

Nikki Janzen placed 20th in the 12-year old girl’s run while Katia Heppell came fifth in the 13-year old girl’s division 3-k race followed by Gabe McGregor was ninth (13:20) and Jensen Barker tenth (13:21).