By Medicine Hat News on October 10, 2019.
Hundreds of athletes braved the cold at Echo Dale Regional Park Wednesday for the South Zone junior high and high school cross country championships.
Dozens earned the right to return in eight days’ time for a crack at provincial gold.
With skiffs of snow still dotting the landscape, the top 18 in each of the junior, intermediate and senior boys and girls races advanced to the Alberta finals Oct. 19.
Eagle Butte’s team qualified 23 for the last meet of the school season, plus took home the 3A team banner as zone champions. Led by Kaden Rath’s win in the intermediate boys five kilometre course, the Dunmore school had plenty of contenders who will enjoy home course advantage come provincials as well.
Rath finished in 19:24.48, 20 seconds ahead of Lethbridge Collegiate’s Owen Stewart. And it wasn’t the only win by an Eagle Butte student on the day.
Josh Graham took the para event, finishing the two kilometre course in 9:44.11 – less than a second ahead of Hat High’s Keegan Kolody.
Ayla Wikjord of Medicine Hat’s Ecole les Cypres was the other local winner among the high school divisions, claiming the five kilometre intermediate girls crown in 23:01.47 – nearly 30 seconds ahead of LCI’s Courtlynd Cherpin.
As for the other Hat-area schools, Hat High had nine top-18 finishes, Crescent Heights five and Monsignor McCoy three. Among the podium finishers was Hat High’s Hannah Salmon, 32 seconds back of Lethbridge Collegiate’s Mercy Trinh for first in the five kilometre senior girls race.
Other race winners were Keira Worsey (Raymond) in the junior girls four kilometre, Kieran Schmidtke (LCI) in the junior boys four kilometre, and Brock Jensen (Chinook) in the senior boys six kilometre course.
Chinook won the 4A banner, Raymond the 2A and Lethbridge’s Ecole la Verendrye the 1A.
In the junior high divisions, Raymond was the 4J champ, Stirling the 3J, Seven Persons the 2J and Gilbert Paterson the 1J.
No Hat-area runners took first place in any of the six junior high races.