R.E. Mountain Secondary’s Wyatt twins made their final high school cross country race unforgettable on a wintry Saturday in Vancouver.
Zach and Tate Wyatt, both 17, ruled the province at the B.C. championships, held in near sub-zero temperatures Nov. 4 along the shores of Jericho Beach.
Zach is the B.C. senior boys champion, finishing the 2.3-kilometre race in 23:17.
Right on his tail was Tate, who finished one second behind in 23:18.
This marked the final high school race for the Wyatt brothers, who are in Grade 12.
Also having solid performances for the R.E. Mountain squad on Saturday were Felix Allen (63rd) and Jordan Schmidt (70th). Rounding out the R.E. Mountain contingent were Danny Lee (137th), Brydon Pires (208th), and Kenneth Xing (221st) in a senior boys race that included 233 runners.
R.E. Mountain coach Debbi McKinnon said the brothers shone in what was “completely unexpected” conditions.
“The week before they had run in Clearbrook and it was 20 degrees (Celsius), and I think it was about zero or minus-one and snowing on Saturday,” McKinnon said.
“It was pretty crazy.”
McKinnon said Zach and Tate are “amazing in that they know very clearly where each other are at during a race.”
“They work together and unfortunately at the end only one of them can win,” McKinnon said. “So they were one second apart.”
The twins helped the R.E. Mountain Eagles soar to second in B.C. behind Victoria’s Oak Bay Bays, a team entirely made up of all Grade 11 competitors.
The Bays had the seventh (Findlay Day), 13th (Jack Boden), 22nd (Michael Barber), and 25th (Joe Robertson) fastest runners in B.C.
As for the Eagles, the squad’s second-place result wasn’t a surprise to McKinnon.
“We came third last year and they trained really hard this year and were really looking to do well,” she said. “We were pleased with the results and I’m super pleased for Tate and Zach. They gave an amazing effort.”
Schmidt, who was the Eagles’ fourth scoring runner, had been floored by a bad flu in the week leading up to the provincial race but showed his resilience by battling to a 70th place result.
“He came and ran and really gutted it out,” McKinnon said.
This was not only the last high school race for the Eagles’ runners, who are all in Grade 12, it marked their coach’s swan song, as well.
“It’s a real bittersweet year for me, too, because I’m retiring,” said McKinnon, who has been coaching most of the boys since they were in Grade 8.
“It was a wonderful way to go out for me, and to have had the honour of coaching these kids… it’s like I said to them on Saturday, I’m so proud of them for their work on the course and their training and also who they are as people, because they are just amazing young men, each and every one of them.”
The Walnut Grove Gators’ finished a solid third in the junior boys standings behind Kitsilano and John Barsby from Nanaimo.
The WGSS junior boys included Cameron Calbick (who led the way with an 10th place result despite having the flu), Jack Hardy (39th), Leo Egger (63rd), Nick Raymond (65th), Grade 8 Daylen Peterson (141st), and Evan Wright (219th).
Hardy lost a shoe one-and-a-half kilometres into the race and finished with just one shoe.
“The one-shoe wonder and tough as nails,” said WGSS head coach Don Sparks.
Walnut Grove’s junior girls ended up eighth out of 27 teams.
The Gators had a balanced result with all of their runners finishing in the top 50 overall.
WGSS’s junior girls were made up of Jaidyn Jackson (70th), Kelsy Stelnicki (79th), Emma Rolfson (85th), Kayla Chanteloupe (88th), Kayla Serviss (100th), and Krysta Serviss (101st).
In the senior girls race, the top Langley runner was Langley Christian’s Brooke Mussche, who crossed the finish line in 34th.
The next top finisher from Langley was Brookswood’s Kayla Weltzin, who placed 78th.