Helen Crofts Preparing for Competitive Return

After incurring a serious leg injury that forced her to miss the 2012 track season, Helen Crofts is making progress towards recovery. In 2011 Crofts was ranked third in Canada over 800-meters with a best time of 2:02.12. A scholarship graduate of SFU, Crofts won numerous titles at national collegiate championships and together with teammate, Jessica Smith, she gave the Valley Royals Track Club solid depth in the two-lap event. Welcome back Helen: we definitely are looking forward to your return to competition.

Valley Royals at Saturday’s Canadian XC Championships – Smith & Siemens Named to BC Team

Five Valley Royal athletes will brave what is expected to be wet and muddy conditions for this Saturday’s Canadian Cross Country Championships scheduled for Vancouver’s Jericho Beach Park.

Heading the club list of entrants are BC team members Jessica Smith and Alex Siemens. Smith has been named to the provincial team taking part in the 7-k senior women’s race while Siemens has been named to the BC junior women’s team competing over a 5-k course. Although Smith is much better known as an 800-meter runner (this past summer Jessica was a semi finalist in the 800m at the London Olympics) she enjoys the challenge of cross country running and feels that the rigors of the sport aids her endurance.

Callum Pilgrim, Jennifer Kell and Sarya Ross will join Siemens for the junior women’s competition with the four of them comprising a club team for scoring purposes. Four other Royals (Peter Mitchell, Oliver Jorgensen, Aiden Bingert and Erica Johnson) will take part in the community race that is being held in conjunction with the championships. This will be the first competition for Jorgensen since breaking his foot in late September, an injury he incurred by turning his ankle during a training run.

Valley Royal coach James Meehan has decided that he is ready for some competition and has entered the Master’s division of the championships. “I don’t expect to be leading the field by any mens but the race will certainly help me sympathize with the pain that my athletes endure when taking part in this sport,” stated Coach James.

After the heavy rain conditions that the lower mainland has been subject to for the past few weeks, it’s expected that the Jericho course will become progressively muddy as the day progresses. However, the present forecast suggests that Saturday may see only light rain showers and that could be a blessing.

Thanks to Everyone Who Took Part in the BC XC Championships

A huge thank-you and congratulations to all Valley Royal volunteers, members of
the BC Officials Committee and City of Abbotsford that turned out to work at and
support the BC Athletics Cross Country Championships.

The weather was inclement to say the least but the meet presentation was excellent. As is usual at Valley Royal meets, the food prepared by and served by Elaine Motion and family was superb and kept all the volunteers well fed—the chili, which we believe Elaine adapted
from a Charlotte Inman recipe, was a perfect match to the weather conditions.

The course was well planned and marked by Course Director Sue Northey and her
volunteer crew that included members of the club executive, parents and athletes. Thanks to Meet Coordinator, April Arsene, who pulled details together. Special thanks
to Cindy Miller for handling the entries and to Twyla Ross who made sure that we
had more than an adequate number of volunteers on hand.

Jason Swan and Shirley Young made certain that the timing and results were handled in the usual expedient manner and Marina Gibson added her expertise to the awards. Catherine Mastine contributed her registered nursing degree and first aid certification expertise to make sure that we had our medical needs covered. As always, John & Carol Cull assembled and administered a group of dependable BC Athletics officials who
braved the weather to lend a valuable assistance to the meet’s success.

We also wish to extend thanks to the City of Abbotsford Recreation department and particularly, Eric Fong, who cut paths over the hills and lent us a variety of equipment. Thanks are also extended to BC Athletics and particularly Maurice Wilson for the guidance
provided. Ocean Athletics, in the persons of Maureen and Ted, contributed much-need equipment for which we thank them for their generous help.

And to our generals, Gary Prince, Doug Heldman and Kim Johnston, who accumulated equipment of all types, including contributions from sponsors and those always ever needed porta-potties, and did yeomen service, our many thanks.

To everyone who helped: it was an outstanding meet made so by the athletes that took
part and ran so well and the many club workers and supporters who contributed so

Six Valley Royals Head to Prince George for BC HS XC Championships

Six Valley Royal athletes left for far off Prince George on Thursday (November 1) to
take part in the BC High School Cross Country Championships. Three of the athletes,
Callum Pilgrim, Alexandra Siemens and Sarya Ross, will be competing for Mouat
Secondary school’s female team that is a contender for the team championships in
the Northern City. This will be the last high school cross country competition for
Siemens as she is now in grade 12. Siemens, who won the high school individual
title three years ago in White Rock, has an excellent article concerning her by
Province Newspaper school reporter Howard Tsumura in this morning’s paper—it
can be found at: (www.theprovince.com/sports/high-school-zone/index.html).

Other Royals making the trip include Jennifer Kell (Hatzic) and Mouat runners
Aidan Bingert, Peter Mitchell & Arsh Ghanda.

Have a good run gang.

Runners Brave Stormy Conditions at BC XC Championships

Two veteran cross country runners posted victories in the senior men and women’s
divisions of the BC Athletics Cross Country Championships held Saturday at Abbotsford’s
Clearbrook Park.

The men’s senior 10-k race was won by University of Oregon graduate Chris Winter who
ran in a group that included a half dozen other runners during most of the distance. But
over the last two kilometers the North Vancouver native, who has been living and training
in Ontario for the past several years, put on a burst that powered him to victory. Winter
covered the five loops of the 2-k course in a time of 32:25 to place in front of Olympian
Geoff Martinson (Prince George) who was second 32:43 with the ever-improving Blair
Johnston, representing Trinity Western University, third (32:49).

“Running at Clearbrook Park brought back fond memories for me of the time I won the BC
High School meet at this same site,” stated Winter after his win. “It’s an excellent place for
cross country running and with just a little more work on areas that have a few too many
rocks, it would compare favorably with sites I have run on at such meets as the World
Championships,” stated the winner.

The senior women’s 6-k run was won by Natasha Fraser who last May was the first
Canadian finisher at the Vancouver Sun Run. Fraser, in similar fashion to Winter, ran
comfortably through the first 4-k but then put on a spurt that opened up a 180-meter lead.
Fraser won the race in the time of 21:30 with Rachel Cliff of Vancouver Thunderbirds,
another BC runner that spent her university days in Eastern Canada (Guelph University),
second (22:03). Fiona Benson (Trinity Western), who two years ago took part in the junior
division of the World CC championships, captured the bronze medal (22:51).

Kayla Stone of Kamloops, the odds on favorite to win the girl’s race this coming Saturday at the BC High school meet in Prince George, bounced back from a rare defeat at the Okanagan high school meet, to win the junior women’s 5-k race. Stone ran most of the distance in a group of four that included Valley Royal Alex Siemens, but over the last 1-k she took control and won the competition with a time of 18:25. Emma Balazs, a talented runner from Prince George, came second (18:40) with Siemens third (18:47).

Fifteen-year old Callum Pilgrim, who Wednesday won the senior girl’s division of the Fraser
Valley High School Championship, produced a winning effort for the host Valley Royals.
Pilgrim stayed close to the leaders through the first part of the 3-k distance but over the last 400-meters she put on a spurt to win the race in 10:28.05. Second place went to Hershey Harriers Nicole Hutchinson (10:35) with White Rock’s Chelsea Ribeiro third (10:43).

Other races saw Levi Neufeld (Trinity Western) place first in the 18-19 boy’s 6-k race
(22:45), Jesse Hooton (Hershey Harriers) was first in the Youth boy’s 5-k (16:08) and
Miryam Bassett (Oceanside), who is also a serious contender for honors at next week’s
provincial high school meet, won the Youth women’s 4-k run (16:20).

Five hundred fifty athletes registered for the various races in a competition that will be held
at the same venue again in 2013.

In the junior development division of the meet, Royal Olivia McAuley placed second
in the nine year old girl’s race as she covered the 1.5-k distance in 7:17 placing just one
second behind winner Alicia Bremer of New Westminster.