Summerland Secondary School runners had strong performances at the B.C. High School Cross Country Championship racelast Saturday at Telemark Nordic Centre.
A first ever for the school’s cross-country program, the junior boys team became silver medalists.
This achievement is a remarkable accomplishment for a team from a small, interior city.
They were competing against about 80 teams, some from large schools with much bigger teams and many more years ofexperience than the Summerland team.
The members of the junior boys team competing last Saturday are Keagan Ingram, Jason Scherban, Ben Geertz, EthanSands, Koen Buckingham, and Reilly Noble.
Three team members were also given awards for finishing within the top 25 runners in the hilly 4.5-kilometre race. Ingramfinished 11th with a time of 17:45, Scherban finished 13th with a time of 17:48 and Ben Geertz finished 17th with a time of17:58.
There were 202 runners participating in the junior boys race.
“We did it,” said coach Brian Salter. “This was truly a team effort: the runners, the coaches, the supportive parents, the SSSathletic department and more. We all worked together to get this far.”
Coach Michael Berrisford has been working with many of these runners for several years through Summerland MiddleSchool, his own club TriPower Triathlon, and now at the high school.
Berrisford designed a training program for the team that included warm-up routines, endurance runs, intervals, sprints, hilltraining, nutrition, mental preparation, race strategies, and starting line techniques — all geared toward qualifying at theValley Championships and peaking at Provincials.
“We now have a B.C. Championship plaque we can display permanently in our school trophy case,” Salter said.
Rachel Shanner, a Grade 12 student at Summerland Secondary School, also competed in the championship in the seniorgirls category.
Shanner ran one of her best races competing against 222 other participants in a time of 25:19 over the challenging 4.5-kilometre course with a long, two-kilometre uphill section at the beginning.
“It was an inspiration to see all of our runners set personal goals and steadily improve throughout the season,” saidSummerland coach Jenny Ayers. “Besides those who competed at provincials, Summerland was also made proud at earlierlocal and valley meets by our full team roster of nearly 20 runners. I’m looking forward to next year already.”
“It’s been an outstanding season for the team and a promising sign of strong teams to come” Berrisford said. “Climbing thepodium at this high level of competition is rare and sweet icing on the cake!”