Thank you to Mike Van TIghem and Matthew Norminton for writing up the post-season Alberta XC recap.
Calgary’s Canmore Park was the site of the 2016 Alberta Cross Country Championships. Although the previous week’s snow was no longer a factor by race day, conditions were definitely “crisp” for Alberta’s best cross country runners. Over 400 runners competed in all races from Tykes to Masters.
Cross country running is often the first introduction to the Athletics Alberta club scene for many athletes and provides a competitive experience for athletes from across a wide spectrum of events. At the younger ages, where multi-events are the focus in track and field competitions, many athletes take on the longest race they will ever run in a given year. By the Senior Women’s race, we saw 2016 Olympian Maria Bernard prevailing over Emma Cook -Clarke a University 1000m/1500m specialist, joined with two former Youth and University 800m standouts Jennifer Norminton and Nicole Soderberg battling for top spots in the 6km course.
The Tyke and Pee Wee races are almost certain to bring new faces to the podium and this year was no exception. Kyra Sheppard and Max Bailey Championed the Tyke race and Benjamin Jansen and Shea Koebel, defended her 2015 title, claiming Gold in the Pee Wee Championship race.
The Bantam girls race was dominated by the Harrier’s Sadie Sigfsted and Lucas Krayacich won the boys title for his Calgary Warriors Club. The Midget races saw both of the 2015 Champions repeating their power as Olivia Cooper, and Bill Makwae won in convincing fashion.
On the Youth side, Edmonton Harrier Brandon Vail put in the same performance that saw him run away from the best High School runners in the province two weeks previously at the ASAA Championships. Only Maximus Thiessen of UCAC was able to keep Vail company in the early going, before the second-year Youth runner ramped it up a notch and ran away from the field. On the Youth ladies side, Caltaf’s Savannah Jordan produced a parallel result as she dominated the 4km race to continue her undefeated season. The powerful front runner established an early pace to which no one could respond and claimed the Provincial title after finishing 4th in 2015.
The Junior races were well contested this year as they were incorporated in the Stewart Cup – guaranteeing that the best Alberta Juniors were on the start line. Stefan Daniel of UCAC established himself as the class of the field, winning the 8km race on the same site he had won the Midget title 4 years previously. Daniel went on to complete the Stewart Cup 10km and finished an impressive 6th against open competition. Danae Keddy continued to demonstrate consistent improvement as the first-year University of Alberta student claimed her first-ever Provincial championship. Keddy was pushed in the early stages by U of A team mate Anushree Patel of UCAC before gradually opening up in the second half of the 6km race to win by a solid margin.
The Senior races provided an exciting showdown between some of Canada’s top runners. SAIT alumni Trevor Hofbauer provided a glimpse of the form that would earn him a spot on the Canadian World XC Championships team two weeks later at the Canadian Championships. Hofbauer was the class of the field, winning by almost a full minute over the 10km course. Olympian Maria Bernard started conservatively before using a strong second half to win comfortably in the Women’s 6km race. Bernard had previously won 3 of Alberta XC Series races and chose to end her season at Provincials prior to beginning her preparation for the 2017 indoor season. The Running Room Athletic Club women’s team defeated all other clubs and university teams on the women’s side of the club competition.
The Alberta Athletics Master division proved once again that age is no barrier as the top Masters runners were very competitive against the Open runners. The ageless Jeremy Deere demonstrated his world-class background by winning the 8km race by 2:00 over his closest competitor. Calgary Phoenix runner, Maria Zambrano – still one of Canada’s top road runners, had a tougher challenge in the early going but prevailed in the latter stages to hold off Running Room’s Tara Struyk.
Goldbar park was the sight of the 2016 New Balance XC series championships which saw men and women both run the challenging 8km course at the same time. On the ladies, Emily Setlack (RRAC) picked up the victory over Maria Bernard (UCAC) with Jennifer Norminton (RRAC) finishing in 3rd place. Bernard still triumphed overall in the individual series standings with Norminton finishing in 2nd place overall and Alecia Kallos (RRAC) finishing in 3rd place. The Running Room women picked up the overall series team title.
On the men’s side, Gareth Hadfield (CALTAF) finished in 1st place followed by Noah Arychuk (UofA) and Mike Nishiyama (RRAC). Hadfield also picked up the individual series title, followed by Kirk Sundt (RRAC) and Alex Howells (SAIT). The Running Room men matched their female counterparts and also picked up the overall series team title.
Alberta athletes and teams wrapped up a successful season with some outstanding performances at the Canadian Cross Country Championships in Kingston Ontario on November 26. A snowfall earlier in the week, and cool conditions on race day meant that the rolling course had some muddy corners and slippery hills to navigate. Record numbers were recorded in several races as Alberta athletes fought for places on the Canadian Team bound for the World Championships in Uganda in March of 2017.
For the first time in Canadian cross country running history, both men and women contested the same 10km distance in the Senior races. Alberta’s Claire Sumner from the University of Calgary Athletic Club demonstrated that racing the longest championship cross country race ever was no deterrent as she claimed the Bronze!!! medal in the Women’s race and was named to the XC Canadian Team. Sumner capped a banner year as her 3rd place finish against the best female distance runners in the country followed on the heels of her CIS/USport Gold medal where she represented Queen’s university against the best university athletes in Quebec City on November 12.
Emily Setlack of Cold Lake finished in 12th place and led her Running Room Athletics Club to a Silver medal in the Women’s Team competition. She combined with Sumner, Alecia Kallos, and Jennifer Norminton to win Team Alberta a Bronze!!! medal in the Provincial Team category.
On the Senior Men’s side, Trevor Hofbauer of Calgary was always in contention and finished a close 3rd to claim the Bronze!!! medal in the 10km race. Rory Linkletter, a first year Senior, made an impressive debut on the Senior scene as he took 6th place and joined Hofbauer as a member of Canada’s Team to the World Cross Country Championships. Hofbauer, Linkletter, Gareth Hadfield and Keenan Viney combined to form Team Alberta and claimed the Bronze!! medal.
Danae Keddie of Edmonton was Alberta’s top finisher in the Junior Women’s 6 km race as she took 19th place.
In the Junior Men’s 8 km race, Stefan Daniel shared the lead for much of the race, but a late surge by the leaders late in the race relegated him to a 4th place finish. Daniel’s strong performance led his UCAC team mates to a Silver!!! medal in the Club Team competition and also combined with Angus Rawling, Jonathon Guidinger, and Greg Ord to help Team Alberta win Bronze!!! in the Provincial team competition.
Savannah Jordan went wire-to-wire to claim the Gold!!! medal in the Youth Women’s 4 km race. The talented CALTAF runner completed an undefeated season that included both an ASAA (High School) victory as well as a dominating win in the Athletics Alberta Championships. Team mate Emma Hubbard also had an excellent race and narrowly missed a top-10 finish as she claimed 11th place and contributed to a 4th place team finish for her CALTAF team mates. Both girls combined with Jovana Tepavac and Emma Steele as members of Team Alberta’s Bronze medal team in the Provincial Team competition.
In the 6km Youth Men’s race, a fall 800m into the race probably cost UCAC runner Maximus Thiessen a shot at a medal. The first-year Youth athlete recovered well and moved up steadily through the race to claim 8th place and led his Team Alberta team mates Aaron Ahl, Aaron Boyle, and Tyson Keddie to a Bronze medal finish.
More detailed results are available below.
YOUTH GIRLS 3RD OVERALL
|Savanna Jordan CALT||1||13:58.8|
|Emma Hubbard CALT||10||14:34.4|
|Jovana Tepavac UCAC||16||15:11.4|
|Emma Steele MAC||17||15:12.6|
|Daniella Wasielewski MAC||(18)||15:14.6|
|Paige Patterson MAC||(20)||15:16.2|
SENIOR WOMEN 3RD OVERALL
JUNIOR WOMEN – No Team
YOUTH BOYS 3RD OVERALL
JUNIOR MEN 4TH OVERALL
|Jelmer Van Den Hadelkamp||CALT||(24)||32:45.8|