© Copyright – 2013 – Athletics Illustrated

XCChamps_FlashSaturday, November 30th the best junior runners in Canada will be competing at the National Cross Country Championships in Vancouver, BC. The men will compete over eight kilometres – four times, the two kilometre loop at Jericho Beach.

Of the over 70 men registered at this time, there are several who will compete for a top position, however; there is no clear cut favourite. Perhaps the closest to being considered a favourite may be between Mike Tate who currently attends Southern Utah University or Ben Flanagan from the University of Michigan.

Kitchener, Ontario’s Flanagan is the two-time Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) 7K champion, 2010 and 2012. One year ago at the national championships in 2012, 17-year-old Flanagan finished second to Dylan Brown who is two years his senior.  The freshman finished 12th in 24:39.4 at the 8,000 metre Big Ten Championships that took place on November, 3rd.

Tate of Antigonish, Nova Scotia is the five-time Nova Scotia Scholastic Athletic Federation cross country champion (NSSAF) and owns a slightly faster 1500 metre time than Flanagan’s, 3:50.40 versus 3:51.77. Tate, who attends Southern Utah University, is coached by the same man who helped Cameron Levins of Black Creek, British Columbia climb to international status, finishing 11th in the 2012 London Olympic Games 10000 metres.

University of Victoria Vikes, Ben Weir won the BC Cross Country Championships on October 20th in Abbotsford, BC. He finished 12th in the 2012 nationals however, his cross-country best may yet to be seen as he didn’t get the opportunity to race at the 2013 CIS Championships that took place at Western University in London, Ontario on November 9th. The Victoria native is a freshman with the Vikes and will likely fight for a top-5 position, to prove he belongs on the Vikes squad.

Justyn Knight of Toronto’s St. Michael’s College won the OFSAA Cross Country Championships in Sudbury, Ontario at Laurentian University this year and is the first St. Michael’s athlete to do so. He cannot be counted out as he moved up from finishing in 24th position in 2012. He owns an 8:19.48 3000 metre best, which he attained during the OFSAA Championships in 2013. His 3000 metre time is equivalent to approximately a 3:53 1500 metre performance.

Nathan Wadhwani, who attends Terry Fox Secondary is capable of competing with the top-level junior athletes, he and Liam Kennell of Victoria should compete near the front. “My goal is to make Team Canada, but I would be happy with a top-10. October was a great month of racing, but I feel like I still haven’t plateaued yet and will be ready to peak for the race in a couple weeks,” shared Wadhwani when asked about his goals for the upcoming race. He owns a 3000 metre personal best time of 8:35.91 and represented Canada at the eighth IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships that took place in Donetsk, Ukraine in July of 2013.

Kennell finished a close second to Wadhwani at the 2013 BC High School Cross Country Championships in Aldergrove, BC after exchanging leads several times. Kennell attends Victoria’s Oak Bay High School. The two are ranked first and second going in, and they finished first and second. Kennell is an 800 metre specialist and owns an impressive personal best time of 1:56.99. “Right now I am at a good fitness level as I am coming off three weeks of hard racing that really got me fit. I had some bumps on the road lately but I am getting it figured out. My expectations are to do the best I can and knowing my level I feel I have a shot at the top eight and maybe get a spot on the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) championships team,” said Kennell.

Seventeen-year-old Ben Preisner should be in the mix as well as his track personal bests are competitive with an 8:34.00 3000 metre best and 15:15.03 5000 metre best to his credit. He also competed in the 2013 IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships and finished 10th in the national championships at the 2012 edition.

UVic Vikes’ Thomas Getty should be in the top 10 as well. In 2012 at the same race he finished in 33rd position. A big move up is likely. His 2013 1500 metre best time is competitive with the fastest in this race, which is 3:50.39. Getty finished fourth in the 16-19 age-group at the 2013 BC Cross Cross Country Championships, 31 seconds behind winner and teammate Ben Weir.

Dark horses may be brothers Peter and Thomas Oxland of Nanaimo, BC. They attend Dover Bay Secondary. They both feel that their fitness has never been better and are looking to finish their season on a high note. Although they are only looking for top-25 finish – they are still just in grade 11 and may be athletes to watch for 2014 and beyond.

Event: Junior Men’s 8k
Name, last and first.
Bergman, Sean
Hutchins, Clayton
Branderhorst, Thomas
Branderhorst, Joel
Groulx, Luke
Mulzet, Noah
Lorenzen, James
Johnson, Matthew
Bentley, Cooper
Dore, Mitchell
Undseth, Brennan
James, Alex
Grieco, Ryan
Faul, James
Van Den Hadelkamp, Jelmer
McGovern, Dakota
Hansel, Graham
Edwards, Brammon
Tate, Mike
Shanks, Joshua
Ort, Jay
Dejong, Caleb
Ostrander, Bailey
Quick, Michael
Kennell, Liam
Nemethy, Alexander
Dejager, Steve
Serban, Christopher
Serban, Anthony
Oxland, Peter
Oxland, Thomas
Miller, Sean
Heyink, Mitchell
Tait, Adam
Fuller, Ryan
Wadhwani, Nathan
Radowits, Royden
Gravel, Philippe
Tedeschi, Jonathan
Duchesne, Philippe
Briand, Jérémy
St-Martin, Stéphan
Dennehy, Connor
Moore, Christopher
Bessai, Santiago
Lawand, Robert
Knight, Justyn
Ghali, Melika
Heaps, Aaron
Carson, Ben
Schmidt, Mark
Shields, Gavin
Lauweryssen, Brant
McGillivray, Joshua
Wood, Carter
King, Bobby
Long, Colin
Quarrell, Mason
Hollowell, Hayden
Manz, Joren
Evans, Derrick
Wunsch, Thomas
Madsen, William
McDonald, Kieran
Andres, Brett
Dong, Kyle
Epp, Adam
Chan, Eric
Thompson, Curtis
Blecher, Oliver

Comments are closed.