A Nanaimo running course was the venue for determining B.C.’s best in cross-country running. The B.C. School Sports provincial championships were held Saturday at Beban Park.
The local highlight came in the junior boys’ race, as the John Barsby Secondary School team won the provincial championship banner.
Rick Hart, coach of the Barsby team, said it was nice for the boys, who finished as runners-up last year, to “kind of finish it off” with a championship this year.
“We committed to it and said we were going to do it and got lucky enough that we could do it,” Hart said.
The Barsby team knew the Beban course, but Saturday’s wet weather added some unpredictable elements and there were a couple of times during the race when Barsby runners fell, got up and kept going.
“It was pretty rough and pretty slippery and just surviving this race today was pretty good,” Hart said.
— Greg Sakaki (@BulletinSports) November 3, 2018
Gage Zanette led Barsby with an individual bronze-medal finish, finishing his two laps in 14 minutes, seven seconds. The other team members were Jayden Watson, Jake Putz, Mike Edwards, Patrick Canning and Cole Chase.
Other team champions were Oak Bay for senior boys, Sentinel for senior girls and West Point Grey Academy for junior girls. Of note, Nanaimo District Secondary School was seventh in the junior girls’ team competition.
In the senior divisions, the two champions were rewarded for their determination to rise to the top in their sport. Kendra Lewis of Van Tech won the senior girls’ provincial championship, while Josh Woolgar of Richmond Christian School won the senior boys’ championship.
Lewis was the front-runner all the way in Saturday’s race and won by a full 30 seconds, completing her three laps in 23:12.
“I just believed right from the start and just tried to stay as far ahead as I could and felt pretty good,” she said.
The championship meant a lot, she said, because she worked hard and wanted to win after a tough provincials in 2017.
“Last year I was going through a bit of a rough patch mentally, so I ended up placing really far down, almost last, and ever since then I’ve just really wanted to come back this year and win it,” Lewis said.
Another noteworthy result in that race saw Wellington Secondary’s Elise Coates place seventh.
Woolgar said he liked the conditions, as he didn’t mind the rain and the course wasn’t too muddy. He didn’t lead start to finish as the runner-up Liam Dwyer of Mt. Douglas surged ahead late, but Woolgar’s final stretch lifted him to a five-second win as he completed his three laps in 20:32.
“I have a strong finish … I knew that I could probably pull it out,” Woolgar said. “Once my coach was screaming at me, saying, ‘you’ve got to go now,’ I just dug in and went for it.”
He said winning the championship took a while to sink in and he credited “great training,” including at the club level, for his success.
“In Grade 9 I was 295th, I think, so I’ve improved a lot…” Woolgar said. “It was one of my dreams for a couple of years to win provincials, because running’s become a passion for me.”
Results from the B.C. cross-country provincial championships:
Senior boys – Josh Woolgar, Richmond Christian School, 20:32; Liam Dwyer, Mt. Douglas, 20:37; Alexander Farlinger, West Van, 20:41.
Senior girls – Kendra Lewis, Van Tech, 23:12; Ceili McCabe, Little Flower Academy, 23:42; Baneet Bains, Princess Margaret, 24:01.
Junior boys – Matti Erickson, L.V. Rogers, 13:42; Jonathan Hofer, South Delta, 13:42; Gage Zanette, John Barsby, 14:07.
Junior girls – Madelyn Bonikowsky, South Delta, 15:30; Iris Tinmouth, Mark Isfeld, 15:48; Christina Peet Williams, Chilliwack, 15:59.