The British Columbia High School Cross Country Championships are taking place Saturday, Nov. 3 at Nanaimo’s Beban Park and the forecast looks good and wet; cross-country conditions at their finest.
Throughout the province, athletes who have qualified from 10 respective zone championships, will toe-the-line in four races: junior boys and junior girls and senior boys and senior girls.
The top-five boys teams that are favoured to compete for the title are led by the Semiahmoo Totems, the Fraser Valley zone champions. They scored a low of 47 points from their race at Aldergrove Lake Park on Oct. 17. In that meet, they did not appear to have a single standout individual athlete to dominate but were led by four counters who all finished in the top-20 – they possess good team strength, placing 5, 6, 16 and 20th.
Mark Potashov finished as the first Totem but was 50-plus seconds back of the lead over the 5.1-kilometre course. Some of the athletes ran the race as a tempo effort or not to their maximum in advance of BC Club Cross Country Championships that took place four days after zones in Abbotsford. Potashov raced clubs and finished 24th in the time of 15:43 while Joshua Woolgar of Richmond Christian School won in the time of 14:26.
The Totems will need to work as a group to take the podium.
Everyone will have their hands full with Oak Bay High School’s Jack Amos. He handily won the junior race at the Vikes Invitational at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria, then won the Island Zone Championships at Beaver Lake with apparent ease. He raced only the final lap of the three-lap 5.7K course. The defending provincial champions are looking as strong as ever with Jack Amos leading the team; shades of Tyler Dozzi.
At Islands, Amos, who moved from near Dawson City, YK to work with two-time Olympian Bruce Deacon – as Dozzi did from Terrace, BC – tried to work with teammate Joe Roberston for the first two laps. Robertson finished well at Beaver Lake for fourth place but was 37 seconds back of Amos. Amos has more in the tank.
Also in the hunt are Windsor Secondary, the North Shore champions and Kelowna Secondary, who are the Okanagan winners.
Earl Marriott and Heritage Woods from the Fraser Valley zone may surprise as they finished with 70 and 84 points respectively.
Jack Amos Oak Bay: Island Champ
Jaiveer Tiwana Fleetwood Park: Fraser Valley Champ, 5th BC Clubs
Jeremiah Mackie Earl Marriot 2nd in Fraser Valley, 8th BC Clubs
Joshua Woolgar RCS: BC Club Champ
Alexander Farlinger West Vancouver: 2nd at BC Clubs, top returner from last year
Liam Dwyer Mt Doug: 4th BC Clubs, 7th Island Zone
Antoine Minfray Carihi: 3rd Island Zone
Fraser Van Allen Dover Bay: 2nd Island Zone, 7th at BC Clubs (Grade 11)
Logan Hwang and from Westsyde Secondary and Keagan Ingram from Summerland Senior Secondary look interesting. Hwang and Ingram went 1-2 in the Okanagan championships in the time of 23:04.80 and 3:13.40 respectively.
Kendra Lewis from Van Tech won the provincial club championships in Abbotsford by 30 seconds. A few days before, she won her zone by a tremendous 3:50 over the three-lap, 6.3K course at Jericho Beach. She has been at the top of her game throughout high school and she is only in Grade 11.
Ceili McCabe from Little Flower Academy finished second to Lewis at clubs. The race for second at provincials may be between McCabe and Maya Kobylanski of Southridge, however, Oak Bay’s Alisa Lyesina was in the hunt finishing seven seconds back – it will be a close race.
Elise Coates of Wellington Secondary in Nanaimo may be off the radar as she finished clubs in ninth place and well back, however, she handily won Islands and the week before dominated the junior race at the Vikes Invitational. She has home course advantage at Beban Park and appears to have had an off day in Abbotsford.
Ehren Paterson of Sentinel is the North Shore Zone champ and should be ready to mix it up with the leaders.
Senior Girls Teams:
Walnut Grove: Fraser Valley Champs
Oak Bay: Island Champ with 11 points
Sentinel: North Shore Champ 18 points
Riverside looks interesting. Although Walnut senior girls went 1-2 as well as having finishers go 11th and 13th, Riverside wasn’t far back with finishers packing in well in 6, 9, 12 and 21st for 49 points to Walnut Groves 27 at zones.
Anything can and usually does happen at the junior level. The following is not so much a prediction and ranking, but a top-finishers list.
Junior Girls Individual
Katelyn Stewart-Barnett St. Thomas Moore: BC Club Champ
Maddy Bonikowsky South Delta: FV Champ, 2nd BC Clubs
Iris Tinmouth Mark R. Isfeld: Won Island Zone by nearly a minute
Christina Peet Williams Chilliwack: 2nd Fraser Valley Zone, 3rd BC Clubs
Tatum Wade Okanagan Mission: Okanagan Champ
Maya Baechler Kitsilano: Vancouver Zone Champ
Junior Girls Team
Abbotsford Christian: FV Champ with 38 points
Mark R. Isfeld: Island Champ with 29 points, nearly 3 min spread
Okanagan Mission: Okanagan Champ
Lord Byng: Vancouver Zone Champ 30 points, 3.5 min spread
West Point Grey: Won Vancouver Ind. Zone with 26 points
Junior Boys Individual
Matti Erickson LV Rogers: Defending Champ, BC Club Champ
Jacob Bonikowsky South Delta: 4th Fraser Valley Zone, 2nd BC Clubs
Jonathan Hofer South Delta: Fraser Valley Champ, 3rd BC Club Champs against HS Seniors
Liam Kirkendale Claremont: Island Champ, 3rd BC Clubs
Michael Schriemer Okanagan Mission: Okanagan Champ
Gage Zanette John Barsby: 2nd Vanc Island Zone, 4th at BC Clubs,
Junior Boys Team
Sardis Secondary: Fraser Valley Champ with 57 points, 30-second spread
John Barsby: Island Champ with 23 points
Handsworth: North Shore Champ 20 points
Okanagan Mission: Okanagan Champ
New Westminster: Burn/NW/Rich Champ 16 points in a small field
Lord Byng: Vancouver Zone Champ with 35 points