After two months of slogging through the rain and mud, a number of Valley Royal athletes will compete this Saturday at the Canadian National CC Championships taking place at Vancouver’s Jericho Beach Park.
Caitlin Leblanc, who prefers track races of 800m to cross country, has made steady improvement throughout the season and on Saturday she will be among the more then 100 other girls that compete in the Youth Women (under 18 years of age) 4-k race. “Caitlin is now grasping how to fight through fatigue and if she holds herself together on Saturday, I believe she will place in the upper half of the field. In any case her dedication this season will hold Caitlin in good stead for next season’s track season,” stated coach Sue Northey.
On the boy’s side, both Tanner Geary and Aidan Bingert will contest the Youth Boys 6-k run on Saturday. “Like Caitlin, both Tanner and Aidan much prefer distances of 800 meters but they both know how vital cross country is for preparing them for the coming track season,” were coach Northey’s words.
A number of other Valley Royal athletes will take part in the All Comers Race that is part of the meet.
Two Valley Royal athletes were members of the Simon Fraser University Men’s Cross Country team that qualified Saturday for the National Division 2 Championships.
In Saturday’s West Regional Championships that took place in Billings, Montana, Oliver Jorgensen and Travis Vugteveen both overcame health problems to help the Clansman grab the sixth and last qualifying spot for the National Championships. It’s the first time ever that a men’s team from SFU has qualified for the Division 2 NCAA Cross Country Championship.
The women’s team had a much easier time qualifying for the nationals by placing first in Montana. “It was a great day for both teams,” stated Clan Coach Brit Townsend and we look forward to the national championships.” The Clan teams leave bright and early next Tuesday morning for Louisville, KY and Tom Sawyer Park, the site of this year’s national meet.
Four Valley Royal athletes will be honored as finalists next Saturday as the best athletes in their age groups.
Chosen as a finalist in the senior men’s division was high jumper Mike Mason. At last summer’s Commonwealth Games, Mason won the bronze medal in the high jump. During the season the long time Royal had a best performance of 2.28 meters in the high jump
Jessica Smith is a finalist in the senior women’s category. The 800-meter specialist had a season’s best performance of 2:02.92 and she was a semi finalist at the Commonwealth Games.
The Royals have two athletes chosen as finalists in the midget men’s 15-year old division. Vikramjit Gondara went undefeated during the season in the hammer throw and finished his season by winning that event with a throw of 59.44 meters at the Canadian Legion Championships.
The other Royal finalist in the midget boys division is high jumper Michael Lambert. With a leap of 1.85 meters, Lambert was the top ranked 15-year old high jumper in the province and won the bronze medal at the Canadian Legion Championships.