Nine members of the Cochrane Endurance Project are now preparing to compete at the cross-country nationals after success at the provincials, Nov. 2.

Jake White, Koover Schmidt, Jack Bentley, Holly Moores, Miranda Hobbs, Brendan Macguire, Nick Hooper and coaches Jessica Kaiser and Pam Moores will all be hitting the course in Abbotsford, Nov. 30, says Endurance Project coach Travis Cummings.

In all, 14 athletes of the club participated in the provincials in Wetaskiwin, including a strong U14 boys team that topped their event.

As well, the club saw athletes take action in the U12 female, U14 female, U16 female, U16 male, U18 female, U18 male, and senior women’s race divisions.

"Our athletes saw breakthrough races, some heartache, some huge successes, and some tough lessons throughout the day," says Cummings. "Overall, however, the event was a great celebration of seeing the Endurance Project blossoming into a sustainable program for the Cochrane community."

It's the first anniversary of the club established a year ago to fill a niche in the community for runners of all ages.

The club currently has 25 athletes. These athletes are attending four different schools in the community, and there are multiple senior and master’s athletes.

Cummings and the rest of the coaching staff are proud of their accomplishments in year one.

"The growth in the club has been met with enthusiasm by the coaching staff; however there is still much work to be done to further establish the Endurance Project as a community staple," says Cummings. "We are excited to see how the future unfolds for us. This program was merely an ambitious dream a year ago, and it has morphed into reality very quickly.

Cummings lists several highlights of the provincials:

  • U12 female – Julia Hooper placed 16th. Julia ran into some breathing troubles halfway through the race and she keeled over and collapsed. However, she collected herself, and through will and determination, and some loving support from her parents and teammates, she got up and finished the race, even coming across the line with a blistering finishing kick. It was a great team-building moment and an inspiring performance that set the tone for the rest of the day.
  • U14 female – Ellie Barlow placed 14th in her first provincial championship at the end of her first full year of training. This was a big improvement for this young runner. Lots of positive things to build on going into what will surely be a bright future in the sport.

  • U14 boys – TEAM CHAMPIONS! The boys’ team of Hudson Hallden-Griffin, Alex Johnson, Caden Jones, and Matthew Witt pulled off a big victory. They placed all 4 athletes in the top ten of their competition. Hudson came home with a silver medal finish, Alex had a huge breakout performance, placing 5th. Caden finished right behind Alex in 6th, and Matthew was close behind in 8th. All had arguably the best races of their young careers; they surprised themselves, and the coaching staff a little bit with how well they executed today.

  • U16 girls – Holly Moores placed 10th, Makenna Myatt placed 15th, and Heidi Moores placed 16th. This was a very competitive race, featuring some of the best U16 competition in the country at the moment. Although Holly wasn’t as pleased with her performance as the coaching staff was, she finished in a solid 10th place. Makenna, consistent as always, pulled off another top 20 performance. But Heidi, Holly’s younger sister, likely the youngest athlete in the field, ran an amazing race, finishing only two seconds behind Makenna after coming on strong in the second half of the 3km course.
  • U16 Boys – Brendan Macguire, 10th, Nick Hooper 18th. Also a very competitive and very deep field. Brendan got out in the top 15 early and picked off runners as the race progressed; kicking down his competition for a 10th place finish. Nick was close behind in a top 20 position. These boys have made huge progress; neither of them was capable of running at the provincial level at this time last year.

  • U18 Girls – Miranda Hobbs, 19th. Battling knee pain that began at the start of the race, Miranda placed a strong top 20.

  • U18 Boys – Koover Schmidt, 25th. This is Koover’s rookie season as a competitive runner, so the learning curve is high when grade 12 is your freshman year. Koover has made big progress in six months.

  • Senior Women – Coach Jessica Kaiser, 7th. Jessica has been running consistently at a high level this XC season after a year of injury and frustration in 2018. She has posted personal bests in everything from 1,500m to 6km XC this season.

Coach Pam Moores will also be competing in the master's division at the nationals.