KAMLOOPS, BC—The head coach of the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack cross country team is calling their first ever “Invitational Race” a big success. Carmin Mazzotta felt that the conditions, the track and the competition was a good first start to what he hopes is an annual event.
“The course was incredible. I need to have discussions on making this an annual thing and utilizing this course. We appreciate the lease holder Bill Bilton for allowing us to use this for the race. And thanks to the City as well. We could hold championships here. We have been getting great reviews from the athletes.”
Racers from his team, the University of British Columbia Okanagan and a number of local high schools competed in a 5 kilometer (women) and 6 kilometer (men) race. It was held on the McArthur Island Golf Course-which has been closed this year due to flooding earlier this spring.
There were 21 women and 26 men competing in the high school and university category.
The overall winners were Veronika Fagan of UBCO in the women’s division with a time of 18 minutes 34.1 seconds. 15 year old high school runner Ana Arano of Vernon was second only five seconds later (18:39.2). Thompson Rivers rookie Kendra Murray (Whitehorse, YK) finished third being clocked at 20:15.9.
“Our women’s team ran well,” Mazzotta continued. “ One of our top runners from the last few years—Rachel Lobay (Kelowna, BC) get injured. Others stepped up. Zoe Painter (Whitehorse, YK) celebrated her birthday today by finishing 8 th (21:32). Emily Atherton (Victoria, BC) and Erika Johnson (Abbotsford, BC) both battled hard.”
Atherton was 10th in a time of 22:06 while Johnson wound up 15th tied with TRU rookie Sam Loewen (Vernon, BC) at 23:01. The other TRU runner was Lopes-Jones (Halifax, NS) who finished 20 th in a time of 25 minutes 28 seconds.
Michael Mitchell of UBCO was the first man across in a time of 20 minutes 35.9 seconds. That was 14 seconds faster than WolfPack rookie Troy Morgan (Hythe, AB) (20:49.7). TRU rookie Josh Ogilvie (Kamloops, BC) was third at 20 minutes 50.6 seconds.
“Both Josh and Troy showed up and had a great race,” Mazzotta stated. “ They challenged for the win and battled every step of the way.”
The rest of the WolfPack men’s team finished as follows: Tony Kiprop (Ethiopia) was sixth in a time of 21 minutes 16.8 seconds. Nic Rampen of Salmon Arm wound up seventh (21:21.6) while Etienne Lavigne (Russell, ON) wound up 11th in a time of 22 minutes 14.4 seconds.
“Tony showed up just a few minutes before the race from work,” Mazzotta said. “ He fought through like he always does. Nic ran a solid race and Etienne is normally a speed guy but he battled every step of the way.”
TRU won the men’s team title by one point over UBCO. UBCO captured the women’s title.
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