Athletics Review: Nov 9, 2009

Senior Cross Country
With a heavy rainfall warning in the Lower Mainland for much of last week, the conditions were less than ideal for the SMUS team heading over for the provincial championships. Boys captain Leo Marchand would accompany the girls team of Laura Dale, Jocelyn Stedman, Hannah Nielsen, Laura Simandl and Alexis Thind. Key members Lisa Evans and Raquel Solmer were unable to join the team, making things even more difficult. However, their spirits weren’t dampened and all runners performed their very best.

At the race, it was evident from the warm-up that things were going to be slick. Grass, mud and water was the theme for much of the day. In the girls 4.4k event, the SMUS girls were bullied off the start line and most of the team found themselves in the middle of the 257 person pack. Elbows were flying, mud was everywhere, and girls were slipping. After the 1k turnaround, Jocelyn Stedman and Hannah Nielsen found themselves in the top 1/3 of the runners, with the remaining SMUS girls in or behind behind the main pack. Shortly thereafter, Hannah would twist her ankle and fall completely in the mud. Not wanting to give up, Hannah then picked herself up and limped on. Fortunately, no other SMUS runners would experience such a fall.

In the end, it was a solid outing for the SMUS girls. When you consider that all the runners at the provincial championships already qualified through zone events, and the fact that many are year-round club athletes, SMUS did very well indeed. Out of the 26 teams in the girls event, SMUS finished in 20th place. The individual standings were as follows (257 runners):

  • Jocelyn Stedman 111st
  • Hannah Nielsen 143rd
  • Laura Dale 193rd
  • Laura Simandl 206th
  • Alexis Thind 234th

In the boys’ 6.6k event, Leo Marchand decided to wear his track spikes for added traction. The boys race would have a field of 249 runners, and most of them were club runners. Again, mud and puddles seemed to be the theme, as by this time, six major events had already taken place on the race course.
As the race began, Leo used his track expertise and hammered out to the front of the pack. In fact, by the 1k turn-around, Leo was actually in 10th place! However, maintaining this pace was near impossible and slowly Leo was caught by many other runners. However, there was little concern, as Leo looked to be in good form as the race went on. At the 2.2k mark, Leo, barely recognizable by the mud caked on him, rounded the course in 30th place. At the 4.4k mark, Leo looked to be around 70th place, with a large pack of runners right behind him. However, Leo turned the jets on in the final portion of the race, and finish a very strong race. In the end, it would be a 63rd place finish for Leo (top 25%).

In spite of the weather, it was quite a very special day to be at the provincial championships. A SMUS girls team had not achieved this qualification in well over a decade. And Leo Marchand culminated his high school cross country career by saving his best for last. It was definitely success all round.
Coaches Tobacco and Hunt would like to thank the team for an incredible season and such commitment and determination. Both the participation rate and the performance rate hit new heights this year. And with such strength and promise with some of our younger SMUS runners, the future is almost blinding with brightness. Thanks to the Grade 12 runners and we look forward to seeing the rest of the team back out in September, 2010.

Grade 8 Rugby
Grade 8 rugby rounded out their fall season last Tuesday by hosting a return match against Shawnigan Lake School. For the first time this season, and after a string of illnesses, all but one of the team’s 16 players were able to play. Because of this, a 13aside game was played, the team’s first 13aside game of the season.

The team got off to their best start of the season with an immediate try by #8 Levi Supowitz, converted by wing Alfredo Sanchez, who goal-kicked well all day. Shawnigan came back strongly and despite some brave defending by Grade 7 fullback Max Pollen, scored some tries. Not to be outdone, the Grade 8 players put together some strong patches of play, pressuring Shawnigan into some mistakes, and scoring another try before the half, due to some strong play by rookie player Michael Skoronski at lock, fellow lock Jason Wang, and centre Zach Khan.

The pattern of the second half was similar to the first, with Shawnigan’s main three players being a touch more physical on the day for the SMUS defence to handle, despite some valiant efforts, especially by Levi Supowitz, prop Jordan Lane, scrumhalf Jeremy Chan, and flyhalf/centre Jacob Wilson-Potter. Playing an all-inclusive team-oriented passing style, two excellent multi-phased SMUS team tries were scored, with prop Abrahim Kharagani barrelling over for one of them under the posts.
Although the result on the day favoured Shawnigan, the development and progression made by the SMUS team over the course of the season was clearly evident, with this being their best performance to date.

Grade 8 rugby will be back into practice in late winter, along with the Grade 6 and 7 players, prior to action in local Victoria area games in the spring.

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