Justine Stecko. Prairie Inn Harriers Pioneer 8K, Saanichton, BC, January 2017. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

© Copyright – 2017 – Athletics Illustrated

The 2017 British Columbia High School Cross Country Championships will be taking place Saturday at Jericho Beach in Vancouver. This is the same venue for past national club championships. The site offers a stunning backdrop of downtown Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains when the sky is clear, but forecasters are calling for cross-country weather.

Unlike the club provincial championships last weekend, that took place in nearby Abbotsford in very warm conditions, provincials will be run with threats of rain and very cool temperatures, as low as near freezing – cold for Vancouver any time of year.

The Jericho Beach course is for those who excel in gnarly cross-country conditions.

Some of the top-seeded runners include New Westminster Senior Secondary’s Grace Fetherstonhaugh, who won the F17 race at provincials last weekend in Clearbrook Park. Justine Stecko of Oak Bay High in Victoria ran in the senior women’s race at club provincials but did not have the result she was looking for. She has raced well since coming back from injury with a second-place finish in the GoodLife Fitness Victoria 8K against four-time winner Lindsay Carson. She won her Island Zone championships in what appeared to be a jog.

Grace Fetherstonhaugh, 2016 BC High School Cross Country Championships – West Kelowna.

Stecko was the top junior runner finishing the 6K course (at club provincials) in the time of 20:24 but finished 20th overall. The women’s winner was Olympian Natasha Wodak, who crossed the line in the time of 18:39.

Fetherstonhaugh finished the near 4K route in the time of 13:06, 29 seconds up on second-place Annika Ariano of W.L. Seaton Secondary; Annika Austin of Kitsilano Secondary was another 15 seconds back. It will be an exciting race between Stecko and Fetherstonhaugh, but several athletes on the right day can challenge for the win.

In the Senior Boys race, Zach and Tate Wyatt representing R.E. Mountain Secondary are top-five favourites going in. They will be up against Island zone champion Findlay Day, who looked very strong winning the Island Zone Championships but had to fight hard to do it. Cooper Langard of Parkland kept the race very honest. There was only two seconds between the two athletes.

At clubs, the Wyatts finished third and fourth. The race was won by Jack Amos, however, he is not yet permitted to race in a BC High School championships as he is from the Yukon.

Brock Hoel. 2016 BC High Shcool Cross Country Championships – West Kelowna.

Amos won in the time of 15:18 one second over Jaxon Mackie and eight and 10 seconds over the Wyatts. Mackie and the Wyatts finished 1-2-3 in the Fraser Valley Zone championships on October 18.

From the Okanagan zone, Brock Hoel with Heritage Christian won the 6500m race in his zone championships. Finish times are not indicated. The triathlete was a top finisher as a 16-year-old in 2016. He will be top finisher again Saturday.

Expect the top four from the Vancouver Zone championships to be competitive including Philip Ngo and Daniel Soliven both of Killarney Secondary went 1-2, while Ben Paetzel of Lord Byng and Quinton Braziller of Charles Tupper finished 3-4 in a close race. There was just 13 second between the four of them.

Racing includes a para-race, junior boys and junior girls as well. Racing starts at 9:30 am.


Para-race 9:30 am

Jr Girls 10:00 am

Jr Boys 10:45 am

Sr Girls 11:30 am

Sr Boys 12:15 pm

Course map is available here: http://www.bcxc.ca/pdf/2017%20BCXC%20Map.pdf

Jack Amos, 2016 BC Club Championships, Nanaimo. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

All race details can be found here>>