Great Racing at the BC Cross Country Championships

The feature races lived up to expectations as over 500 athletes contested the 2016 BC Cross Country Championship under overcast skies in Nanaimo on Saturday.

The combined Junior, Senior and Masters mens race was led through the first 2K lap by Declan White (Trinity Western), followed by a large pack featuring all the other favourites. Once White was caught, Justin Kent (Coastal Track) took up the lead through the halfway mark. By the end of the third lap, 2015 Canadian Cross Country Champion Ross Proudfoot (Speed River), who recently moved to Victoria from Guelph to train at the Athletics Canada Western Hub, had joined Kent at the front, and the race looked to be between the two. Out of the woods the final time, Proudfoot had opened a 30m lead over Kent, which he extended on the final loop of the playing fields to run out a comfortable winner in 24:10. Kent held on for second in 24:25 ahead of two fast closing finishers, Rob Denault (Newmarket Huskies), another recent transplant from Ontario who took third in 24:28, and the top university athlete Shoayb Bascal (UVic) in 24:29. Bascal led his UVic team to the university team title over the Trinity Western Spartans, as they look to defend their CIS title in 2 weeks time. Declan White and Luc Bruchet (Vancouver Thunderbirds) rounded out the top 6.

Second year Junior Nickolas Colyn (Trinity Western) won the Junior title in 25:00, ahead of rookies Chet Goerzen (UVic) and last years BC High School Champion Kieran Lumb (UBC).

Immediately behind Lumb was the Masters Champion Jerry Ziak in 25:39, with Graham Cocksedge and the reigning Canadian Masters Cross Country Champion Craig Odermatt completing the podium.

The womens race was equally enthralling. Lindsay Carson (Yukon) led the charge up the first hill, but by the time the field came out of the woods again 1K later Rachel Cliff (Vancouver Thunderbirds) and Regan Yee (Trinity Western) had opened a gap on the field. 2K later, Lisa Brooking (Trinity Western) had bridged that gap, and as they exited the playing fields for the final time was pushing the pace. By the time the leaders emerged from the woods again Brooking had a 50m lead over Cliff, with Yee close behind. Around the fields one last time, Brooking continued the extend her lead, to take the Championship crown comfortably in 20:17. Yee passed Cliff in the final 200m to take second  in 20:30 to Cliff’s 20:34. Brooking and Yee’s 1-2 punch help Trinity Western to a convincing defence of their university team title over UBC. Carson, Alycia Butterworth (Unattached) and Mirelle Martens (Trinity Western) competed the top 6 Seniors.

Hannah Bennison (Okanagan Athletics) repeated last years 5th place overall to repeat as Junior Champion in 20:59, in preparation for defending her Canadian Junior Cross Country title. Former Canadian Youth Cross Country Champion, Christina Sevsek (Coastal Track) and Joanna Williams (Trinity Western) were second and third.

Heather Macdonald captured the Masters title in 22:24, over Nicki Haugan and Desneige Zvonarova.

Tyler Dozzi (Prairie Inn Harriers) won by the largest margin of the day, taking the Youth Boys title over Dawson Ribeiro (Coastal Track) and Liam Foster (Coastal Track).

Olivia Willett (Unattached) successfully defended her Youth Girls Championship over last years Midget Champion Taryn O’Neill (Okanagan Athletics), with Georgia Ginther (Coastal Track) taking third.

Jack Amos made the long trip from the Yulon worthwhile as he won the Midget Boys convincingly from Liam Dwyer (Prairie Inn Harriers) and Braden Kersey (Vernon).

Mia Bennison (Okanagan Athletics) took a second Championship home for the Bennison family, turning the tables on last years Age 13 Champion Kendra Lewis (VOC), with Annika Ariano (Vernon) third in the Midget Girls race.

The JD Championship winners were:

Boys 13: Matti Erickson (Kootenay Chaos)
Girls 13: Milena Kalisch (South Fraser)
Boys 12: Jayden Watson (Nanaimo)
Girls 12: Sophie Forsyth (Vancouver Thunderbirds)
Boys 11: Kai O’Donnell (L’Ecole Bilingue)
Girls 11: Maya Baechler (Vancouver Thunderbirds)
Boys 10: Max Holmes (Royal City)
Girls 10: (Brooke Irish)
Boys 9: Owen Sandquist-Sherman (St Michaels University Junior School)
Girls 9: Alexa Dow (Cowichan Valley)

The Vancouver Thunderbirds won the JD Team Challenge over Ocean Athletics and last years champions Nanaimo Track & Field Club.

Complete results at:

Thanks to Nanaimo Track & Field Club for hosting. See you at next years Championships, which will be in Abbotsford on October 28, 2017.