This article was written by Alyssa Sayers and posted by Kathy Shong

On November 4, three cross-country members Olivia McDonell, Grade 10, Mario De Grieff Meraz, Grade 11, and Jack Hamilton will be advancing to the Provincials at Jericho Park in Vancouver for their final race of the season. Runners have been practicing and working hard since the beginning of September.

On October 18, The Fraser Valley Districts were held, and many runners came through with great finishes. The Grade 11 boys took first place on their team with Meraz finishing in 1 place, and Joshua Caldwell, Grade 11 finishing in 2 places. Andrew Bueno, Grade 12, finished in 8 places, and McDonell finished in 1 place for the Grade 10 girls.

Mario De Grieff Meraz at a recent race placing first.

The coaches for the cross-country team are Mr. Phillip Barrington, Ms. Tara Keating and Ms. Erin Tate, who all helped motivate and inspire the runners to give their best effort and run with confidence. “Our strengths were mature, seasoned runners like Meraz who trained hard throughout the offseason and has really improved. Our weaknesses were having a consistent number of runners at the meets to compete,” said Tate.

McDonell had a few words to say about her thoughts on cross-country and going to the Provincials. “Strengths of mine were racing during the Districts and Fraser Valleys and getting 1 place, but something I would like to improve on is cross-country more because I like to run middle distances better. A highlight of mine for the season will be going to the championships in November for the Provincials,” said McDonell.

Some runners that stand out to the coaches were McDonell, Grade 10, Maria Kim, Grade 9, Meraz, Grade 11 and Jack Hamilton, Grade 12, who has been running on the team for four years straight. “McDonell continued to improve and take first, and Kim, who is new on the team surprised everyone with some first-place finishes. Meraz has really stepped it up this year in Grade 11 and Hamilton, now in Grade 12 has been a consistent force throughout these last four years,” said Tate.

The team has taken several wins and managed to advance to Provincials this season with two very hard working, consistent, strong runners. Riverside Rapids wish them good luck on their success!

UPDATE to this story: Mario De Grieff Meraz and Jack Hamilton ran well in snowy conditions on November 4, placing 125 and 107 respectively. Olivia McDonnel placed 91 overall for the Jr Girls and ran well, despite the condtions!  Better than rain for sure!