Maella Hodgson placed second in the U16 girls’ three-km race at BC Athletics’ BC Cross-Country Championships Virtual Challenge. (Gordon Kalisch/Fast Track Sports Photography)

Maella Hodgson placed second in the U16 girls’ three-km race at BC Athletics’ BC Cross-Country Championships Virtual Challenge. (Gordon Kalisch/Fast Track Sports Photography)

Ocean Athletics runners compete at BC Athletics’ virtual championships

Clubs, athletes from across province take part in cross-country event

Runners of all ages – on tracks and trails across the province – laced up their running shoes last weekend to take part in BC Athletics’ BC Cross-Country Championships Virtual Challenge, and plenty of Semiahmoo Peninsula athletes clocked strong times.

Not only did a handful of local runners finish with top-10 times in their respective divisions, but Ocean Athletics Track and Field Club was also recognized as having the largest number of participants take part in the event, with 25.

Runners each ran their respective distances on their own or with their clubs.

Their times were recorded and submitted to BC Athletics.

• READ ALSO: South Surrey runners prepare for ‘virtual’ Pandemic Challenge

Ocean Athletics’ top finishers included Arden Mathis and Jade De Fondaumiere, who were fourth and seventh, respectively, in the 13-year-old girls ‘championship eligible’ division, which was a three-km race; while three other Ocean Athletics runners – Meagan and Kailey McKay and Marin Marano – competed in the three-km ‘all-comers’ division.

In the U16 girls three-km ‘championship eligible’ race, Maella Hodgson was second – just two seconds back of gold medallist Maya Baechler of the Vancouver Thunderbirds – and Ocean Athletics teammate Mackenzie Hack was third, Gemma Dumas was fourth, Rachel McDonald was fifth and Haley Issel was seventh.

Two others, Anna-Veronika Titova and Rojella Santos, competed in the U16 girls ‘all-comers’ race.

In the U16 boys ‘championship eligible’ three-km race, Ocean runners clocked the top four times: Caiden Lee was first, Connor Nicol was second, Brendan O’Brien was third and James Hodgson fourth.

In the U18 women’s four-km ‘championship eligible’ race, Abigail Yakemchuk placed second behind Vancouver Island’s Emily Hunt, while Ocean Athletics’ Milena Kalisch was third, 12 seconds behind her teammate.

In the U18 men’s race, three Ocean runners took part, with Kaelem Dumont finishing seventh, Isaac Baker ninth and Kyle Janzen 13th.

At the masters level, Corinne Issel won the women’s eight-km race in a time of 34 minutes, 40 seconds – nearly five minutes faster than the second-place finisher, while Mikhail Titov was sixth in the men’s eight-km event.

“While increasing restrictions due to COVID-19 meant that we were unable to hold an in-person championships, we were thrilled to be able to hold a virtual championships giving our athletes across BC an opportunity to measure their fitness against one another,” said Clifton Cunningham, BC Athletics’ technical manager for road and cross-country running.

“It was exciting to see athletes from across all of B.C. including Port Alberni, Terrace, Salt Spring Island, Trail and all points in between, take part in this virtual event. We hope that despite the challenging times we are all enduring, that this event gave athletes the opportunity to put their hard work and training to the test in a safe environment.”

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