Alexa Dow of Frances Kelsey High School won the junior girls’ race at the Vancouver Island High School Cross Country Championships held at Elk / Beaver Lake Regional Park in Victoria on Wednesday October 20 .
Dow finished her race in 16 minutes and 40 seconds, 35 seconds ahead of runner-up Tessa Hunter-Siebert of Stelly’s Secondary. She wasn’t the only Cowichan Valley runner to place in the top 10, with Luise Hitzbleck of Brentwood College School finishing eighth.
The races marked the Island’s first cross-country championships since fall 2019. Last year’s events had to be called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cowichan Valley’s top player in the junior boys’ race was Carter Zuback of Queen of Angels, with a time of 17:38.
Yichen Gao of Queen Margaret’s School finished in the top 10 in the senior boys race, placing seventh with a time of 20:33, while Miles Powell of Frances Kelsey finished 13th with a time of 21:11. Neve Martin was the top local finalist in the senior women’s race, placing 12th with a time of 25:27.
The senior boys and girls from Brentwood both finished fifth in their respective team competitions.
Several of the Island’s championship runners will travel to Vancouver on November 6 for the provincial competition in Jericho Beach.
The Islander Championships came just after the conclusion of a four-country cross-country race series in the Cowichan Valley with stages at Bright Angel Park, Shawnigan Lake School, Glenora Park and Cobble Hill. The student-athletes competed in three age categories: midget (8th grade and some 7th grade students), junior (9th and 10th grade) and senior (11th and 12th grade), over distances of 1.7 to 5 , 5 km. The top eight runners in each race received a ribbon and the runners who completed all four races received a Series T-shirt.
Teams of visitors from outside the district were also present, including Ladysmith, Nanaimo and Ucluelet.
“As always, these races have a great community atmosphere and a camaraderie is starting to develop between the students from the different schools,” said Shawnigan Lake School Cross Country Coach Mark Swannell.
The top performers of some of the competing schools are:
Frances Kelsey: Alexa Dow (junior girls) and Miles Powell (senior boys)
Brentwood: Neve Martin (senior girls)
Shawnigan: Jamie Tait (junior boys) and Haruka Ogawa (senior girls)
St. John’s Shawnigan Lake Academy: Autumn Lowes (junior girls), Oliver Price (junior boys) and Peter Salmon (senior boys)
Queen Margaret’s: Yichen Gao (senior boys)
Cowichan Secondary: Stanleigh Stone (junior boys) and Julie Frans (senior girls)