WCHS Team set pace for season


Submitted by Cari McDonnell
Colt McDonnell right: and Addison Campbell, Nakai McDonnell, Connor Gusdal, Alex Toohey, Brenden O’Callahan, Robyn Hebert, Emily Maplethorpe, Joel Bishop and  Raymond Risto placed in the top 20 in their races.
The weather was nearly perfect for the first event of the WCHS Cross Country team in Red Deer on Saturday, September 15th.   It was an important race in that this same course will be host to both the Zones and Provincial meets later in October.
New head coach, Rob Cross, took 21 athletes and was encouraged by their results.  It was a challenging race not only due to the hilly and sandy terrain, but also because clubs and schools from both Edmonton and Calgary were on hand to get a look at the course layout.
Maddie Oxton, grade 10, and Alex Andres, grade 12, each brought home silver medals from their races of three and six kilometres respectively.  Other top 10 finishers included grade 11 boys Berrin Brand and Trent Hebert who placed fifth and seventh in the same four km race and grade 12 runner Hannah Ballhorn who placed 10th in a four km race.  
With Addison Campbell, Nakai McDonnell, Connor Gusdal, Alex Toohey, Colt McDonnell, Brenden O’Callahan, Robyn Hebert, Emily Maplethorpe, Joel Bishop and Raymond Risto also placing in the top 20 of their races, Coach Cross felt the team had a strong presence in the first event of the short season.
“We had a number of runners improve on their times from last year as well as finish ahead of runners that beat them last year,” said Cross. “There will be runners at zones that weren't at this meet, but it did give us a bit of an idea how we stack up early on.”
At the end of the day Saturday, the team still wasn’t done as preparation was necessary for two upcoming races happening at Peace Hills Park in the next week. Wednesday, Sept. 19 is the 18th annual Rod Drebert Meet and Saturday, Sept. 22, is the 14th annual Peace Hills X-Country Meet. 
This season the team hopes to repeat the successes of past years as Zone Champions, from 2000-2011, and Provincial Champions, from 2001-2011.  
Coach Cross is still welcoming all male and female high school students who would like to join the cross country team.  Practices are after school daily, and Coach Cross can be contacted by calling WCHS at 780-352-2295 or by email at crossr@wrps.ab.ca.
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