The Cochrane Endurance Project (CEPR) had its best showing ever at the Athletics Alberta Club Cross-Country (XC) Championships at Peace Hill Park in Wetaskiwin on Nov. 4.
Twelve athletes represented our community with flying colours in the U14 to U20 age classes, returning with one bronze medal, a team championship, and the most top 10 results in its six-year history.
It was also the first time the Endurance Project has placed first-year U18 competitors in the top ten.
The U16 girls team of Rose Fraser (6th), Zoelia Labonte (10th), Sophie Reuter (17th), Avlea Irvin (21st), and Shiloh Ballak (22nd) lead the way for CEPR, winning the team competition over a CALTAF girls team. This was the first provincial championship in XC for most of these girls, making the win all the more impressive.
Kayley Torrie had a huge breakout race, winning bronze in her first year as a U18 in a highly-competitive field. Following her were Csenia Irvin (16th), and Ellie Barlow (26th).
In his first-ever provincial championship, Liam Keyes placed a respectable 9th in the U20 men's race.
Ryden Bruce came sixth in a tight U14 boys field.
Raimo Sollitt and Eli Torrie pulled off impressive top-10 finishes in their first year in U18. They placed 6th and 7th, respectively.
Now in its sixth year, CEPR has foregone some changes to the organization to ensure its sustainability, and it's paying off.
"The athletes are really excelling right now, and that's ultimately what we want," says head coach Travis Cummings "I was very impressed with how yesterday went."
He says the athletes were up to the challenges offered by the course in Peace Hill Park.
"Yeah, it's tough. It's really hilly," says Cummings. "I was shocked at just how fast they ripped up that course. Overall, it's probably some of the fastest U16 and U18 races I've seen there. There were snow patches, it was muddy and slick, and they were ripping like sub 3:30 k's. They were cooking, and it was a pretty overall impressive provincial championship."
The cross-country season isn't quite over for some Endurance Project athletes. Competing at the nationals in Ottawa on Nov. 25 are CEPR coach Pam Moores (Master's Women), Liam Keyes (U20), the U18 men's team of Caden Jones, Raimo Sollitt, and Eli Torrie, and the U18 women's team of feature Csenia Irvin, Kayley Torrie, Zoelia Labonte, and Ellie Barlow.
Cummings says their coaching team commends their athletes on an outstanding cross-country season. Working alongside him are coaches Pam Moores, Greg Ord, Jessica Kaiser, and Ed Nowicki.
With the cross-country season wrapping up, CEPR begins its indoor track season in January.
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