Year after year, the Moose Jaw Cross-Country Invitational continues to grow and bring more athletes to the city.
Now in its ninth year, all nine elementary schools and all schools in the Prairie South School District travelled to Moose Jaw to compete on Wednesday afternoon in Wakamow Valley.
“This is so exciting to think that nine years ago, we only started with a handful of people and every year, I keep waiting for it to max out,” said Renee Verge, coordinator of the event. “It is so exciting that last year was over 200, and I think we are at 263 kids…just wow.”
The elementary level had over 200 runners alone, which was a great positive that Verge saw during the afternoon.
“What I saw today was just some wonderful things. I saw older kids running and that is huge to see the numbers that we saw in Grades 7 and 8 running – that is very significant. If we can keep those kids running now into high school, for me, that was the highlight of the meet,” she stated.
Vanier’s Morgyn Olmstead won a gold medal in her senior year, something she wasn’t expecting, but is happy to start the cross-country season off with some hardware.
“No, I wasn’t (expecting gold)…I was just going in hoping to do my best and I happened to win and it felt good,” she said. “I just wanted to make sure I go out and feel good the whole time. I wasn’t going for a place.”
Olmstead had a good race and felt confident throughout the three-kilometer trail.
“The whole race felt good. My knees didn’t feel too lactic or anything,” she explained.
With districts next week, Olmstead will be working towards pushing herself to a higher level in hopes of getting a spot at provincials.
“Districts are next and that’s what I’m working towards and this was good practice for that,” Olmstead stated. “I want to make to provincials and then go from there.”
One thing she wants to work on before next Wednesday: “Going uphill.”
As a junior last year, Daniel Ferguson kept pace with some of the senior boys. Now in Grade 11 and in the senior division, Ferguson wanted to prove he belongs, by placing first at the invitational.
“It felt pretty good. Beating the older kids is always nice too,” he said. “I just tried my hardest to get there.”
Running the four-kilometer race was nothing new for Ferguson and districts will be six-kilometers. Although he cramped up during around the three-kilometer lap, he pulled through for the easy win.
“I cramped up a bit, but it went away quick. Most of the time, just dry mouth, but otherwise, I felt good,” he said. “My legs weren’t too lactic…it was nice.”
Ferguson is hoping to have the upper –hand at districts, as he trains on the trail they will be running in Wakamow.
“I know there are going to be some bigger dogs in Grade 12, but that is to be expected,” he said. “This will motivate me and I feel confident. Getting that first is definitely a positive.”
For more on this story, read an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.