Friendly rivals share podium again
Cross-country: HTA, STS runners 1-2 at South Central zones
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 06:00 am
No matter which direction a pair of Okotoks area athletes ran at the South Central high school cross-country zone championships, they end up at the same spot.
Standing side-by-side on the podium at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
Strathcona-Tweedsmuir Spartan Gillian Ceyhan won the Senior girls 4,000m championship in 17:09, just 30 seconds ahead of Holy Trinity Academy Knight Claire Thorimbert at Canmore on Oct. 9.
“I went in and just treated this as a training run and just see how I feel and hopefully it works out, because I know it has worked out before,” the Grade 12 Ceyhan said. “I just found my pace.”
Ceyhan said they reversed the course from last year, which consisted of two 2,000m loops.
“Last year we had all the uphills at first so we could get the hard part over with,” said Ceyhan, who lives in Heritage Pointe. “This year it was just the opposite.”
The Grade 12 student led the race virtually from the firing of the starter’s gun. However, the blast at the start wasn’t the only thing she heard.
“For the first lap I heard her (Thorimbert’s) footsteps behind me, and then I think there started to be a gap between us,” Ceyhan said.
“She is a really good runner. I was happy to see her on the podium next to me for all three years.”
Thorimbert has finished third the two previous years behind Ceyhan and STS Spartan Claudia Belanger, who did not compete this year.
“They are both good runners and running against them the last few years has made me a better runner,” Thorimbert said.
“I never expect to beat Gill, she is such an amazing runner. My goal has always been to close the gap between us. I think zones was the smallest gap between us ever.”
Thorimbert said she tried to maintain the same pace throughout the race. She admitted she may have slowed down during the second 2,000m due to the hills.
“I found the hills on the second lap really difficult — it was definitely harder this year,” she said. “I felt really good after the first lap and it wasn’t until the middle of the second lap that I got tired, but I just ran through it.”
Thorimbert and Ceyhan will compete for the last time in high school as they both easily qualified for the provincials on Oct. 20 in Drayton Valley. The top 18 at zones go on to provincials.
Ceyhan won the provincial championship as an Intermediate at 4,000m last year.
Thorimbert was 11th in the same race.
“My goal is to finish in the top 10 and I just barely missed last year,” she said. “It will be difficult, but I would really like to push for it this year. As long as I run my hardest, I will be satisfied.”
An Oilfields Driller surprised an important person with her fifth place finish in the Junior girls 3,000m at zones — herself.
“I didn’t really think I would do well at all at zones — the girls are all really competitive and it looked like they could run,” Nevada Nelson said. “I didn’t have a very good experience there last year at zones (as a junior high student).”
What a difference a year makes.
“Last year it was freezing and I was sick,” Nelson said. “This year, it was nice out and I felt better. It was a harder course but I did better.”
The course was downhill at first and then uphill.
“I was at the front of the pack the whole race, but there were two girls who were way ahead,” she said.
For a complete list of runners who qualified for provincials see page 70.Foothills area runners who qualified at zones for provincials are:
Junior girls (3,000m) — 5. Nevada Nelson, Oilfields, 13:38; 14. Ashley Hickel, HTA, 14:49; 17. Rebecca Clark, STS, 15:21; 18. Melissa Obi, STS, 15:27
Intermediate girls (4,000m) — 4. Brynn McLellan, STS, 20:02; 6. Tiana Ewing, Foothills, 20:16; 18. Juliana Smith, STS. 21:14
Senior girls (4,000M): 1. Gillian Ceyhan, STS, 17:09; 2. Claire Thorimbert, HTA, 17:39; 6. McKenzie Walker, STS, 19:41; 6. Sawera Dhaliwal, STS, 19:41; 11. Mikayla Fredriksen, Highwood, 21:17; 16. Mandi Hofer, Highwood, 21:56; 17. Vanessa King, STS, 22:06.
Junior boys (4,000m): 5. Graham Strang, Foothills, 16:33; 9. Saransh Loona, STS, 16:39; 13. Paul Crichton, STS, 17:07; 17. Jordan Russell, Highwood, 17:34.
Intermediate boys (5,000m) — 1. Angus Rawling, STS, 18:56; 3. Simon Leslie, HTA, 20:13; 6. Brandon Piercy, Edison, 20:33; 7. Graham Seasons, STS, 20:43; 18. Tristyn Butler, STS, 22:57.
Senior boys (6,000m) — 5. Matthew Mundy, HTA, 25:39; 7. Jeremy Rose, STS, 26:51; 8. Philip Taylor-Smith, Highwood, 26:21; 12. Milad Eskandar, STS, 26:36; 15. Connor Lainchbury, NDC, 26:49; 16. Ezra Bunn, HTA, 27:00; 17. Daniel Livergant, 27:02