The Walnut Grove Gators Grade 8 girls (above left) and junior girls each won their respective Fraser Valley cross country banners on Oct. 28.

The Walnut Grove Gators Grade 8 girls (above left) and junior girls each won their respective Fraser Valley cross country banners on Oct. 28.

Perfect score for Gator Grade 8 girls

Walnut Grove cross country team has top four finishers in team competition as Gators win Fraser Valley banner

The Walnut Grove Gators ran the perfect race.

The Grade 8 girls cross country team captured the Fraser Valley banner on Wednesday (Oct. 28) at Crescent Park in South Surrey with a score of 10, the lowest possible score.

“This was the first time we had a perfect score,” said Gators coach Don Sparks.

“This has never happened to our team before.”

A team is awarded points based on when they cross the finish line, with the lowest total winning.

And the Gators’ quartet of Kelsey Stelnick, Emma Rolfson, Holley Harrison and Cassidy Cardle finished second, fourth, fifth and ninth, respectively. But among those in the team competition, they were the top four and were thus awarded one, two, three and four points for a total of 10. The team had an average time of 11:33.75.

By comparison, second-place Semiahmoo had 35 points and average time of 12:57.48.

“We didn’t know how strong the other teams were so we had no clue how well we were going to do,” Sparks said.

But Sparks knew his team was strong.

Throughout the season, Harrison had been their top runner, but when she had a tough race at Fraser Valleys — albeit still finishing top five — Stelnick and Rolfson rose up.

“She has been our strongest runner all season but she didn’t have the strongest race that day and the other girls stepped up,” he said.

And this was one of two banners Walnut Grove teams won as the junior girls also came out on top.

The Gators quartet of Grace Chalk (ninth overall), Samantha Matthewman (16th), Sarah Buckingham (21st) and Katie MacEwen (24th overall combined to score 48 points, eight better than second-place Sullivan Heights, who had 56.

Walnut Grove’s average time was 19:39.73, which was actually slower than Sullivan Heights’ 19:37.99.

The junior race was won by Langley Christian’s Brooke Mussche, who crossed the finish line in 17:52.64, nearly eight seconds ahead of her nearest competitor.

Walnut Grove’s senior teams also found the podium at Fraser Valley with the boys finishing second and the girls third.

Ford McMahon, Paul Buckingham, Will Riley and Jake Robertson combined for 37 points, just five back of first place Sardis.

“The boys were crushed,” Sparks said. “They were gunning for first.”

Sardis runners scored three, four, 12 and 13 points while Walnut Grove clocked in at seven, nine, 10 and 11.

The Gator senior girls — Isabella Boccia, Chelsea Borrowdale, Emma Deardon and Breanne DeJong — were third with 61 points, behind Semiahmoo’s 41 points and Earl Marriott’s 56.

•••

The R.E. Mountain Eagles junior boys team also won the Fraser Valley cross-country banner.

In the team competition, Mountain had the top three finishers in Zach Wyatt, Tate Wyatt and Jordan Schmidt, with Danny Lee scoring 35 points for a score of 41, which was three better than Holy Cross. The Mountain runners had an average time of 17:05.13.

And the Yorkson Creek Wolves Grade 8 squad was third with 39 points.

Felix Allen was third overall (and second among team runners) with Jacob Park, Luke Chung and Lance Pablo rounding out the team.

The runners will now prepare for the provincial championships on Nov. 7 at Vancouver’s Jericho Beach Park.