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Island runners sweep B.C. high school cross-country crowns

Ruby Broadbent, the Parkland Secondary star, won the senior girls’ B.C. high school cross-country championship for the second consecutive year by running the 5K course at Royal Roads University in 17 minutes and 17 seconds on Saturday.

Ruby Broadbent, the Parkland Secondary star, won the senior girls’ B.C. high school cross-country championship for the second consecutive year by running the 5K course at Royal Roads University in 17 minutes and 17 seconds on Saturday.

Broadbent took to running to stay fit for Island Wave rep soccer during the pandemic only to have it become her primary sport. Her long, seamless stride also carried her to the Canadian Under-18 title and she will have several NCAA and U Sports teams recruiting her.

Ella Ballard of Royal Bay, who was third last year at Jericho Beach in Vancouver when both she and Broadbent were in Grade 11, pushed Broadbent hard in placing second this year in 17:43.

Sidney Clement of Sentinel in West Vancouver was third in 17:52.

Tyler Browne of Oak Bay, fourth last year in junior boys at Jericho, won the provincial senior boys’ title at Royal Roads in 15:54 over the 5K in a tight race against runner-up Andrew Gunnink of Credo in Langley (15:55) and third-place Yemane Mulugeta of LA Matheson in Surrey (15:58).

The Island swept the titles with Charli Mlotshwa of Oak Bay winning the 4K junior boys’ race in 12:31 and Alexa Dow of Frances Kelsey the girls’ junior race in 15:33, with Tessa Hunter-Siebert of Stelly’s fourth in 15:53. The emerging Dow is also the defending junior girls’ provincial high school champion on the track in the 800 metres and 1,500 metres, won last spring in record times.

Killarney of Vancouver won the senior boys’ B.C. cross-country team title with Oak Bay fifth and Nanaimo District Secondary sixth. Handsworth of North Vancouver captured the senior girls’ team championship with Oak Bay sixth and Claremont 13th. The junior girls team parade was topped by Nanaimo District Secondary with Oak Bay seventh and the boys’ junior by Oak Bay with Highland of Comox ninth.

The awards were presented by two-time Olympic medallist triathlete Simon Whitfield and two-time Olympic middle-distance runner and now University of Victoria Vikes head coach Hilary Stellingwerff.

“We [had] some of the best runners in Canada competing,” race director Jeff Hunt said in a statement. “This may be the most stunning setting ever for a B.C. championships, with the vistas of the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountain range and the beauty of Hatley Castle.” Hunt coaches the St. Michaels University School team and designed the course.

The provincial championships returned to the Island for the first time since 2014.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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