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Cowichan’s Dow dominates at Island Cross Country Championships

Elite runner two minutes ahead of next finisher

The 2023-24 Cross Country Island Championships were held in Oak Bay on Oct. 20 and, fresh off her appearance at the 2023 Youth Commonwealth Games in ­Trinidad and Tobago this summer, Frances Kelsey’s Alexa Dow was the first to cross the finish line in the 5km senior girls race of 114 athletes — nearly two minutes ahead of the race’s second place finisher, with a time of 18:22.

Brentwood College School’s Veronika Lam was the Cowichan region’s other Top 30 finisher. She was 29th in the division with a time of 23:21.

Other senior girls finishers from the Cowichan Valley included Cowichan Secondary’s Annette Blumel (53rd), Emily McCallum(63rd), and Naomi Nickolichuk (94th), Brentwood College’s Edith Wong (73rd), and April Liu (88th), and Ladysmith’s Elyse Henwood (68th), Hannah Krahnke (70th), and Tara Jil Schmidt (74th).

Shawnigan Lake School’s Christian Lamotte was the top Cowichan Valley finisher in the 5km senior boys race, with a 13th place finish in the grouping and a time of 19:05. Carter Zuback of Queen Margaret’s School was the Cowichan Valley’s next fastest runner, coming 42nd with a time of 21:42. They were the only two from the CVRD to crack the top half of the 106-runner field.

Brentwood College sent five senior boys to the race including: Hamish Gullison (58th), Trevyn Gray (64th), Paolo Freccia (69th), Jasper Mottershead (72nd), and Brennan Kneeland (92nd). Also competing in the senior boys group were from QMS: Mike Chen (54th), and Sean Wu (60th), as well as Dave Paquette (98th) from Shawnigan Lake School, and Mirai Suzuki (63rd), and Benedict Joe (106th) from Duncan Christian School.

Brentwood College finished eighth in the senior boys team event.

Of the 100 runners racing 4km in the junior girls division, Ladysmith’s Rylee Wins was the top Cowichan Valley finisher, coming fourth in a time of 16:05.

Layla Walker of QMS was 11th, Charlotte Gough of Kelsey was 12th, Skyla Lewis of Ladysmith was 14th and Layla Reynolds of BCS rounded out the top 15.

Brentwood’s Nita Qiu (30th), and Keira Miller (56th), also ran for the school. Ladysmith’s racers were Seren Henwood (40th), Jaema McConkey (45th), and Lilian Schnurr (72nd).

Joining Gough from Kelsey were Ellie Nelson (41st), Frankie Swannell (44th), Tilly Nielsen (55th), Mia Sorenson (78th), and Abby Simmons (98th).

Shawnigan’s only junior girls runner was Elizabeth Gibson (77th) while Cow High sent Ashley Pepper (82nd). Quamichan School’s Madison Campbell was 86th overall and her teammate Avery White was 94th.

Rounding out local runners was Marie Joe of DCS at 96th overall.

Ladysmith’s junior girls placed fourth in that division’s team event.

Matthew Ruiter (QMS), who finished 35th overall in the junior boys 4km event was the top Cowichan Valley finisher in the division.

Other junior boys finishers include Ladysmith’s Nolan Smith (41st), Ryder Henwood (92nd), and Kyson Stevenson (124th), along with Shawnigan’s Tristan Chan (44th), Ethan Rigler (63rd), and Thomas Yang (114th), and Kelsey’s Cody Henry (48th), Rylan Hallet (57th), Antonio Iannidinardo (75th), and Logan Shaw (96th).

Quamichan’s Samual Nickolichuk (77th), James Elliot (125th), Wesley Jim (127th), and Frank Tom (129th) also ran, as did BCS’s Quentin Porter (87th), Charlie Woernle (90th), and Oliver Mottershead (101st), and Cow High’s Gabe Gerbrandt (110th) and DCS runners Joshua Beacham (121st), and Norman Joe (123rd).

Kelsey and Quamichan placed 10th and 12th respectively in the junior boys division’s team event.



Sarah Simpson

About the Author: Sarah Simpson

I started my time with Black Press Media as an intern, before joining the Citizen in the summer of 2004.
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