Hanna Bennison will head to the B.C. Cross Country Championships in Langley as the Okanagan Valley junior girls champion.
The Grade 9 VSS Panther athlete covered the 4,300-metre Stake Lake course near Kamloops in 17 minutes and 16 seconds. Kendall Fitzgerald of Valleyview Vikings (Kamloops) was the overall winner in 16:57.
“Our top three gals all had their best race of the year, each beating their Salmon Arm rivals for the first time this year,” said Panthers’ coach Mark Bendall.
Megan Johnston of VSS was 18th, in 19:47, and will be heading to provincials Saturday, Nov. 1, for the fifth year in a row.
Grade 9 Panther runner Samantha Loewen missed qualifying for provincials by one spot, finishing 13th in junior girls and 21st overall in a field of 80, in 20:20.
VSS placed second in the junior girls and boys team standings to make provincials.
Helping Bennison and Loewen claim the junior girls title in a field of 45 were Jordyn Cullum (22:45) and Jadyn Jacott (24:18).
Connor Johnston led the VSS junior boys by placing 26th overall and 12th junior, in 28:02, in the 6,400-metre run. Sam Eggert (29:11), Joe Eggert (30:03) and Nash Cullum (32:57) also boosted the junior Cats.
Grade 10 Joey Kohut, of the Fulton Maroons, is also going to provincials after taking fifth, in 26:26. He was 12th overall in a field of 103.
Liam McGrath of the Seaton Sonics was 18th overall, in 27:19.