Another for the win column, Frances Kelsey Secondary School’s Alexa Dow won the senior AAA girls 5 km race at the B.C. High School Cross Country Championships at Crescent Park in Surrey on Nov. 4 despite being relatively new to the distance.
“I haven’t raced 5 km before this year as the distances for junior girls and the U16 category were shorter,” Dow explained.
The B.C. club provincials on Oct. 14 in Surrey provided the track athlete some time to prepare for the new length, even though she ran in the U18 category as a 16 year old.
“My first 5 km at the club provincials this year was a good chance for me to see what I could do over that distance and to try some strategies,” she said. “I was happy to win the silver in my first year in the U18 category, but I learned what I needed to change when I faced the same competitors again at the B.C. High Schools race.”
At the high school provincials Dow was able to pass her competition with just under one kilometre to go and she didn’t look back, running to a first place time of 17:23.30, 25 seconds faster than the second place finisher.
This is the second year in a row she’s won the B.C. High School Cross Country Championships after finishing first at Royal Roads last year in the junior girls (4 km) category.
“Cross country provides a good change for me from track season,” Dow noted. “On the track I’m always racing against the clock trying to lower my times, but in cross country the courses are always so different and so while you want to run a fast time, you’re also racing for the win each time. I like the strategic part of that.”
After the Canadian National Cross Country Championships, Dow will turn her focus to her training for track and field season which begins in April. She plans on opening her season by racing at the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
It’s a big year for the young racer.
“Grade 11 is a really important year for college recruiting,” she said. “My dream is to run D1 in the NCAA and so I’ll be working hard to be able to do that once I graduate.”
Along with Dow, several other Cowichan Valley runners also took part in the B.C. High School Cross Country Championships on Nov. 4.
Dow’s Frances Kelsey teammate Charlotte Gough placed 50th of 230 in the junior girls 4km race while Queen Margaret’s School runner Layla Walker was 58th.
Meanwhile, Brentwood College School’s Veronika Lam crossed the senior AA girls 5 km finish line in 37th place while teammate Layla Reynolds placed 70th.
In the senior boys AA 5 km race, Shawnigan Lake School’s Christian Lamotte placed 30th while Brentwood College School’s Hamish Gullison was 83rd.
QMS athletes Mike Chen and Sean Wu placed 32nd and 41st of 62 runners in the senior A boys 5 km race respectively.