Yakima, Wash, March 29: The distance crew had a very successful weekend competing in Yakima at the 40th Annual Don Holder Relays. The team was led by veteran Sarya Ross who chalked up a win in the 2 mile race (11.46.2), in spite of having to battle gale force winds. In the boys’ varsity mile race, Peter Mitchell ran 4.56 (19th) with Aidan Bingert (23rd) close behind in 4.59. Caitlin Leblanc, a first year Royal, ran strongly in the girls’ Varsity mile to win her section (5:41) and placed 8th overall. Delaney Chapman followed closely behind Caitlin and had a 5.46 clocking.
Arsh Ganda had a busy day running both the varsity mile and 400 meter races. In the freshman/sophomore division, Tanner Geary, in spite of the heavy winds, ran to a personal best in the 400m (55.66) to win the bronze medal and followed this with a second place finish in the 800m (2:10.47).
Kate Sokolowsky was the leader amongst our freshman girls and placed third (5.46.2) in her first ever attempt at the mile distance. Later in the meet, Kate placed second in the 800m (2:32.6).
Katia Heppell won her sections of both the 400m and 800m races placing 4th and 7th respectively.
The real excitement came when the Royals stepped onto the track to compete in the distance medley relay. Aidan Bingert ran the opening 1200m leg and his strong finish kept our team in contention. Aidan passed the baton to Tanner Gerry who ran a solid 56 seconds for the 400m. Arsh Ganda ran well in his 800m leg and although it looked like he might have gone out a little to hard, he fought the fatigue over the last 200m and finished strongly. Peter Mitchell went on to run a solid mile and when he crossed the finish line he had our team in fourth place.
The girls distance medley team was led off by Delaney Chapman who ran a well paced 1200 meter. Delaney’s effort was matched by Katia Heppell in the 400m second leg. By the time Catilin Leblanc got the baton for her 800m third leg the Royals were battling it out with 2 other teams for 2nd place, Catlin was passed but then managed to find another gear, battled back and at the completion of her run our team was in second place. Sarya Ross ran the final mile leg for the team and closed the 30m gap on her first of four laps to put our team in the lead. But the effort took too much out of Sarya and despite an excellent 5.22 effort, our team had to settle for the silver medal.
It was a great season opener for the crew and judging by the performances it looks like it is going to be an exciting outdoor season.