Jordan Jacobs, Sports Editor
The Walnut Grove Gator Cross Country Team has just finished one of their best seasons in school history! Following a great showing at the Fraser Valley Championships where the Senior Girls brought home the Fraser Valley Championship banner, the Gators showed they were ready to perform and race their best at their last race of the season; and for some key members, their last high school cross-country race ever.
The gators that either qualified as a division team or individually boarded the bright yellow school bus en route to the BC High school Cross-Country Championships taking place in Nanaimo on Saturday, November 3rd. While only a ferry ride away, having the competition away from home adds a layer of intensity and nerves as the athletes can no longer sleep, train, or even eat as they are used to. Nevertheless, the Gator team was excited and determined to do their very best: and it showed!
In the Junior Boys Division, Jack Hardy’s stunning run was the gator team’s overall highest finish as he came 5th out of 277 athletes! He was followed by teammates Daylen Peterson and Atkinson Kuo who also finished within the top 100 of their division placing 35th and 70th respectively. The Junior Boys team – also comprised of Evan Calbick, Nick Raymond, Maximilien Rodermond, and Keanan Williams- finished 5th overall in the division.
Rookie Kiera Pemberton left a lasting impression at her first high school sports championship, finishing 6th out of 239 runners as a grade 8 athlete racing against competitors in grade 9 and 10. Her jaw-dropping performance was joined by her fellow Gators Quetzalli Guillen and Laila Vaissade who also finished in the top 100 runners. The rest of the Junior team including Daniela Sada, Sabrina Dias, Sophie Walker, and Caitlin Granleese all helped secure the team’s overall 6th place finish.
The Senior Boys sadly were not able to qualify a team for the Provincial Championships, but that does not mean they were not well represented. Graduating senior Richard Midgley qualified as an individual athlete, and finished an impressive 46th out of a total of 262 racers in the high school race. While he has now finished his last cross-country season, Midgley is excited to join many of his fellow runners for the Spring track season.
“I’m sad that the season has come to an end, but my result has me even more excited for my final track season as a Gator”
Richard Midgley (grade 12)
The senior girls were also comprised of seasoned racers such as graduating senior Grace Chalk, who finished an amazing 15th in her race with a total of 226 runners. She was followed by her teammates Naomi Reisdorf, Kelsey Stelnicki, fellow senior Daylana Ferguson, and Cassidy Cardle who all finished within the top 100 athletes. Emma Rolfson and Josephine Bennett were also key members of the senior girls’ team that lead them to finish 4th in the province overall: one of the best finishes in school history!
The gator cross-country team has definitely left a lasting impression after their impressive finishes at Provincials, and overall performances throughout the season. Congratulations to all athletes on a great season, and a special shoutout to the graduating seniors!