Two Cowichan Valley schools finished atop their categories in terms of participation as BC School Sports presented its first-ever virtual province-wide cross-country running competition this fall.
Duncan Christian School and Shawnigan Lake School had the most participants in Group D (1-175 high school students) and Group C (176-599 high school students, respectively, in the BCSS Cross Country Pandemic Challenge presented by Subway.
DCS saw 134 students take part in the run, while Shawnigan had 379 participants. They were among 1,974 runners from 91 schools across the province who ran 3km or 5.5km distances. The top schools will receive a plaque and a cash prize.
In a year where the COVID-19 pandemic has shelved all interschool athletic competition, the event was welcomed by the students.
“Everyone was excited to be able to participate in an event since all of the school sports have been cancelled,” said Anna Kempe, a Grade 11 student who was Duncan Christian’s Sportsperson of the Year in 2019-20 and would have played volleyball and soccer in a normal year. “So we went out in the rain, face paint and all, having the time of our lives”
Schools were allowed to choose any date between Oct. 21 and Nov. 4 to run the challenge. Results were compiled and released by BC School Sports on Nov. 19. DCS did their run on Nov. 3.
“I think it was a super cool opportunity for our school to work together to challenge and hopefully beat the other schools,” said Ellie Kremer, another Grade 12 student from DCS who would usually be taking part in basketball and soccer. “Even though COVID makes circumstances for sports not ideal, it was cool for our school to participate and work together as a team to defeat the challenge.”
Queen Margaret’s School produced the best individual results among schools from the Cowichan Valley: Yichen Gao placed fourth in the province in the senior boys 3km distance, and Carissa Norsten was fourth in the senior girls 3km event. Brentwood College School’s Neve Martin was 11th in the junior girls 3km, and Collin Field was 17th in the junior boys 3km.
Shawnigan had all the best finishes in the Valley at the 5.5km distance. Meghan Gillmore was 19th in the province in the senior girls race, Sam Bailey was 25th in the junior boys competition, Abigail Whitworth placed 33rd in the junior girls race, and Seiya Tanaka-Campbell was 50th in the senior boys race.
BCSS was pleased with the success of the event.
“It’s been a tough time, especially for the youth of the province,” executive director Jordan Abney said. “School sport is such an integral part of the school experience and it has been sorely missed since March. To have nearly 2,000 students participate in this pandemic challenge just confirms how significant school sport is in the lives of our young people and their desire for a sense of belonging and community.”