It was a great overall weekend for the South Central District as they sent almost 40 runners to the provincial cross-country championship.
Those numbers aren’t unusual to send to a provincial competition, but 11 finished in the top 20 and Peacock’s Libby Epoch won a silver medal in the midget girls category.
“The results that we accomplished with those numbers were really exciting,” said Renee Verge, the cross-country commissioner and Peacock coach. “A lot of South Central kids had some personal bests.”
Many of the runners are only seasonal runners that were competing against year-round runners from bigger centers and schools. So for the numbers that were achieved was a highlight for Verge.
“We were pretty pumped on the bus and everyone had a good feel for the day and for the young kids, they can set some goals for next year.”
The athletes had great warm weather to run in at Echo Valley Provincial Park and the trail didn’t have many hills to it, something that the runners didn’t know until they got there and went through a walk-through of the course.
“It was very rolling and basically, no hills on the course. I think most of us would have rather seen hills, but the course is whatever you get and the kids had a fun day,” explained Verge. “The beauty of cross country is that you really never know for sure what the trail is going to look like until you are there and that is part of the whole sport…can you adapt and make good decisions based on the terrain you are going to be racing in.”
Caronport won a silver medal in the 2A classification for the school team competition. Central Collegiate finished in fifth place in the 3A classification and Peacock Collegiate finished with a bronze medal in the 4A classification, a difficult task.
“For us to medal at Peacock again in the 4A classification is huge…that is a really tough classification to medal in because it is the biggest high schools in the province and a lot of those kids are year-round runners,” said Verge. “So for us to show up with our 13 kids and six-week runners and be able to medal as a team is always a real treat.”
Peacock’s Epoch finished with a time 12:10, just behind Aurilla Wilson from Balgonie, who had a time of 11:45 to win the gold medal. Wilson competed and won the district meet held in Moose Jaw a couple weeks ago and Epoch was able to see her for the first time and execute a plan at provincials.
“We knew whom we had to be close to at provincials. We knew what box she was coming out of and Libby knew what colour of jersey was and we knew if she could be with that gal, she would be in the hunt and that’s exactly what she did,” said Verge. “She had someone to focus on and she tried to stay as close as she could and the result was a silver medal for her. I thought she ran a very smart race.”
In the senior girls category, with over 100 runners trying to fight for positioning out of the box, Vanier’s Sadie Schaeffer went down on the first corner.
“She got back up and continued on in the race. Full credit to her, when a lot of kids go down, they pack it in, but she got up and kept going,” she stated. “Full credit to her for regrouping mentally and physically after a wipeout like that…its not easy.”