Seventeen Summerland Secondary School athletes and four Grade 8s from Summerland Middle School participated in the Okanagan Valley cross-country championships that took place on the trails next to the Summerland rodeo grounds on Oct. 24.
Teams from 28 schools totalling 304 athletes from Revelstoke to Kamloops to Osoyoos convened to compete in the annual fall foot race.
The Rockets Senior Girls team made up of Olivia Eaton, Natalie Benoit, Haleigh Bach, Alyssa Robinson and Rayman Klar raced well with Benoit and Eaton placing in the top 20, earning individual entries to the Provincial Championships.
Tayla Ingram of Summerland Middle School placed second overall in the junior girls field just seconds out of first in an exciting sprint finish.
The Summerland Secondary School senior boys team placed third overall, also earning a trip to the Provincial Championships with Jason Scherban, Ben Geertz and James Maaske running in the top 20 followed by Ethan Sands, J.J. Henderson and David Wu.
The junior boys team, led by Keagan Ingram placing first of 87 runners, shocked the field of 28 schools by claiming the Valley Championship team title for Summerland for the second year running.
Teammates joining Ingram were Jacob Mullin, Koen Buckingham, Reilly Noble, and Holden and Connor Berrisford.
Grade 8 Evan Gupta of Summerland Middle School placed 19th earning a trip to the provincial race, while Arlo Kast and Pascal Benoit put in strong performances and gained valuable experience for coming years at the high school level.
“Local cross-country is experiencing great success with strong running programs at the elementary, middle, and high school levels,” said Rockets and Wave coach Mike Berrisford. “Qualifying 16 athletes for provincial competition, including both the junior and senior boys teams, is proof of our growth and depth — and of a bright future.”
Coach Jenny Mitchell said, “We are excited to grow our girls’ program too. The team atmosphere of cross-country is really fun and we would love to see more girls out running with us.”
The B.C. School Sports cross-country championships are scheduled for Nov. 4 at Jericho Beach Park in Vancouver.