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'Fantastic' cross-country season, says Olds coach

Eight members of the École Olds High School cross-country team qualified for provincials
Devyn Rice, a member of the École Olds High School cross-country team, runs in zones.

OLDS — This year’s cross-country running season was “fantastic,” École Olds High School cross country head coach Grace Martin says. 

Eight members of the team qualified for provincials, held Oct. 21: Tye Jorgensen, Kepler Fitzner, Sydney Van Ginhoven, Devyn Rice, Liam Hartt, and Ethan Giesbrect.  

Daniel Schafer also qualified but was unable to attend the event. Talia Challoner also technically qualified, but Martin says there are no provincials for Grade 9 students. 

Unfortunately, no École Olds High School students were listed in top 10 provincial results posted by the Alberta Schools Athletic Association. 

The first big challenge for the team was divisionals, held in early October at Snake Hill in Sundre, followed by zones, held Oct. 11 at the golf course in Trochu, the same place where provincials were held. 

“Every one of our high school runners was able to advance from divisionals to zones,” Martin wrote in an email. 

At divisionals, five students qualified for zones, from which the provincial qualifiers were determined.  

In those divisionals, Devyn Rice, Sydney Van Ginhoven and Talia Challoner each finished first in their categories; Rice in senior girls (Grade 12), Van Ginhoven in intermediate girls (Grade 11) and Challoner in JV girls (Grade 9). 

Two runners, Ethan Giesbrect and Kepler Fitzner, placed third in their categories – Giesbrect in senior boys and Fitzner in junior boys (Grade 10). 

“This cross-country season was fantastic. We had a very good turnout for our cross-country team. We teamed up with École Deer Meadow (School) to attend several meets,” Martin wrote. 

“The camaraderie of our students was great to see.” 

Martin noted the team ran in Sundre twice, once as a fun run and once for divisionals.  

“Zones in Trochu was cold,” she wrote. “Our runners definitely felt the physical challenge of the golf course hills and ran against pelting wind and cold rain.  

“One of our runners said that he felt everyone who showed up to zones was already a winner because it took a lot of dedication to run in those conditions.  

“The most amazing thing about the cold and challenging zones was that every one of our runners had better times than divisionals.” 

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