London Western’s cross country team had an excellent season at every level with top finishes at local, provincial and national championships. The 2016 cross country season wrapped up with Athletics Canada’s national championships in Kingston on November 26.
Kingston experienced a dramatic snowfall the week prior to the race, leaving the looped course muddy and slick throughout. London Western members contested in the six national championship age divisions – youth girls and boys, junior women and men and senior women and men.
(Jack Sheffar (L), during the early stages of the 10K at ACXC Champs in Kingston, ON)
Youth Girls 4000m
The day got off to a solid start with the youth girls (17 & under) race that was contested by 200 runners. Savannah Jordan of Calgary led the race throughout, winning in 13:58. London Western was well represented as the team of Martina Tait (20th), Zoe Burke (22nd), Nicole Tamming (169th) and Kyleigh Stubbs (172nd) combined to finish 12th among 22 teams from across Canada.
Youth Boys 6000m
The youth boy’s race with over 220 runners, followed on the heels of the youth girls. The London Western girls having established a high standard, gave the boys something to shoot for. They didn’t disappoint as they combined to finish 11th among 22 teams! The team consisted of Evan Burke (23rd – a midget running up to youth), Kyle Farquharson (43rd – an outstanding finish for his first year running), Drew Horner (92nd – bettering his performance of last year) and Tyrone Traher (191 – just coming back off injury). Tyler Dozzi of Winnipeg was the winner in a time of 18:51.
(Evan Burke (R) showing his determination to get to the finish!)
Junior Women 6000m
Hannah Benson of BC stormed through the mud and repeated as champion of the junior women’s race. London Western did not have a team in this event, with only two of our junior women toeing the line. They ran solidly, however, with Dana Earhart placing 37th and Bailey Milos finishing 59th.
Junior Men 8000m
Our junior men, coming off the provincial gold medal a couple weeks earlier, had high aspirations at Nationals. With one of our top runners, Adam Tait, not participating, everyone recognized they would have to step up to have a high team finish. They did so as Brad Sheeler led the way placing 32nd. That combined with Justin Attfield (62nd), Mitch Heyink (71st) and Aidan Attema (89th) gave the team a 7th place finish in the country.
Ehab El-Sandali of Toronto was the individual champion.
Senior Women 10000m
This was an historic race as, for the first time ever, the senior women raced the same distance as the senior men (10000m). London Western did not have a team this year (after placing second as a team last year) as only two LW women raced. Becky Pieterson was unable to negotiate the course successfully and did not finish. Emma Tallman ran a very strong race to place 30th in a field that included many national team members.
(Brad Sheller cruising along at ACXC Champs in Kingston, ON)
Senior Men 10000m
The senior men’s race was an outstanding field of national team track and cross country athletes. Just as an illustration of how strong the field was, U Sport national champion Yves Sikawabo placed 13th. Our young men’s team acquitted themselves well as Jack Sheffar (24th – a first year senior), Kevin Blackney (26th), Jeremy Hick (59th) and Matt Sheeler (78th – another first year senior), Chris Caddey (89th) and Elliot deLange (95th) combined to place 8th in the nation in team scoring.
The race was won by defending champion Ross Proudfoot of Guelph.