Students advance to provincial cross-country meet

by Phil Ambroziak

Several area athletes, representing different schools in the Northwest, are on the right track for provincial cross-country competition.

But, first they had to prove themselves at the district meet held at the St. Cyr Hills east of Meadow Lake Oct. 3.

“It was a great event,” remarked Carpenter High School vice-principal and cross-country coach Jesse Shakotko. “The weather worked out in the end and many of our athletes had good fortune. A lot of them finished in the top three or four in their categories.”

Carpenter athletes to qualify for provincials were Tayla Villeneuve and Hana Johnson in the junior girls category, Chris Jouan in the senior boys category and Taiya Paylor and Caitlyn Villeneuve in the senior girls category.

“Our runners did great,” said CHS cross-country coach Erin Martin. “Two of our junior girls, Tayla and Hana, placed first and second respectively. In senior girls, Taiya and Caitlyn placed first and third. Our senior boys runner, Chris Jouan, also did very well considering it was the first time he ever ran a six-kilometre race.”

Other area runners to qualify in the junior girls category were Quin Carter and Tamara Lindstrom from Ernie Studer School in Loon Lake, and Wayanna Opekokew-Laliberte from Valley View School in Beauval. In the junior boys category, advancing are Terrance Peterson from Twin Lakes School in Buffalo Narrows, as well as Craig and Loren Lemaigre from La Loche School. Meanwhile, Sheldon Bird from Valley View School and Kurtis Herman from La Loche advanced in the senior boys category, and Anika Albers and Jennifer Kirsch from Ernie Studer School, along with Alyssa Herman from La Loche, qualified in the senior girls division.

“Anybody who ran in the junior and senior categories qualified for provincials because each race had fewer than 10 runners – the top 10 runners traditionally advance,” Martin explained.

Martin went on to note how difficult it is to encourage students to participate in cross-country when there are so many team sports offered. The district meet also featured a midget and peewee category, the latter of which attracted more than 200 runners.

“This included 124 girls, but in the senior girls category there were only eight runners,” Martin said. “But, that doesn’t take anything away from what these athletes have achieved. They earned their success and it can’t be taken away.”

Midget action

Area runners to qualify for provincials in the midget boys category were Leroy Murray and Creo Sawka from Jonas Samson Junior High School, Tanner Freyman from Ernie Studer School, and Garrett Campbell and Jonah Koebernick from Twin Lakes. In midget girls, advancing are Randie Gonie from Pierceland Central School, Cheyenne Aschenbrenner from Ernie Studer School, Cassia Anderson from Jonas Samson, Shellayne Buffin from Valley View and Amber Lemaigre from La Loche. Other midget competitors, in spite of how well they finished, did not advance because they are not yet old enough to compete at the provincial level.

“There were a lot of really young runners out there – that’s always good to see,” Shakotko said. “There was a lot of high-calibre runners, and we had a lot of good volunteers.”

The provincial cross-country meet is scheduled for this weekend at Little Loon Regional Park and will be hosted by Medstead School.

“I’m not sure how many schools will be represented, but there’s sure to be a lot of good competition,” Shakotko concluded.

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