Ducks would have been at home on the La Portage Golf Course in Cheticamp on October 22; it was that wet. Penguins would have loved the wet and single digit temperatures. Indeed, it was a cross country running kind of day! My favorite quote today came from an official to a parent concerned with the unsafe conditions: Oh! It’s not track and field safe… but it’s cross country safe! With four teams of Highlanders, we had many to cheer, and many to keep warm.
It can be a bit difficult to ascertain just how well individuals do at this race. Unless a runner was here five years ago, then they haven’t run this course previously, so we have no comparisons that way. Given that cross country courses are so different, it is challenging to compare them. However, sometimes it's possible to see how well they have finished against those they competed against a week ago. For instance, I know that Chelsea James ‘29 improved on her position from last week at the western region championships, moving up a spot. I also know that Harper MacInnis ‘30 finished ahead of many girls today that she did not last week. The junior girls team overall also maintained their position from last week, so we’ll take that as a win. Two big reasons for keeping our spots were the result of the efforts of Emery Endres ‘28 and Bethany MacDougall ‘28. I don’t think Farrah Webber ‘30 has missed more than a practice this season and with dedication like that, and two more years as a junior, will surely see her climb the rankings.
On any given day it is difficult to get each runner on a team doing their best. This is one of the reasons why we have seven teammates even though just the top four score points. Fletcher Wellard ‘28 has been our number one scorer, and he continued to lead today as he has throughout the season. The mud, rain and wind didn’t slow him down, and he had a particularly strong finish and kick. Having the best race that I have seen from him in this, his third season of Highlander cross country, Eli Strum ‘28 was breathing fire the entire time. In 2021 Eli was a member of the junior boys team that finished eighth of 14 teams at regionals, and today he was a key member of us placing sixth of 16 teams at provincials (and first last week!). Spencer Armstrong ‘30 was mowing down competitors so much during this race that the golf course offered him a job. There are many different ways to win, and Nathan Woo ‘28 definitely got the W in my books today as he set aside pain and showed great grit to finish strongly for his team. Altyn Hood ‘29 was another Highlander who definitely moved up many positions from last week – a fantastic result. Preston Savignac ‘28 picked about the toughest two races of the past few years as his first two races, but he has promise, and I hope he returns for more.
Emma Lawton ‘26 was our top finishing intermediate Highlander last week, and she filled that leadership role as she rolled over the tough terrain. Not everyone can bounce back from a down day, but Natalia Shaw ‘27 is unlike other people. She flew past at least 10 people at provincials that she didn’t at the regional meet. Even better, right next to her and pushing each other around the four-kilometre course was tough teammate Lillian Blois ‘27. Having another fantastic race in her first season, and a season to be proud of was Paty Arceo Marentes '26.
As is always the case, the senior boys inherit the most beat up course. The first Highlander across the line was Alex Graham ‘25. With a solid year of training ahead of him, look for Alex in the leaders pack. Yasu Hojo ‘25 had planned on playing baseball in the United States all weekend, then driving to Cheticamp on Monday morning. A baseball cancellation led to him being able to come up Sunday with fresh legs ready for a solid performance in the afternoon. That turn of events also led to Ken Hojo ‘27 being able to come along and run an extra kilometre in the senior division. Andre Karabu ‘25 finished in such a furious final kick that I think he’s going to be very comfortable on a track. Finishing his second and final season as a Highlander, Max Stulberger ‘24 has had two seasons in a row to be very proud. Today was a great race that adds to a season of great races.
A special thank you to Ms. Paula James for being a team chaperone for the weekend. Thank you to Mr. Edward James for his dozens of photos. Thank you to our parents who traveled very far out of the way to make this day possible for the team: Ms. Kimberly Strum, Mr. Donnie Armstrong, and Mr. Tim Webber. Thank you to Ms. Kim Shanks for making our travel arrangements. Thank you to our bus driver Mr. Robert. Thank you to our Athletic Director, Mr. Kim Walsh, and our Head of School, Mr. Joseph Seagram for their unwavering support.
Senior School Faculty
Coach, Cross Country, Track and Field, Swimming