Morning Star Staff
Braden Kersey of the Seaton Sonics won his second straight North Zone cross country race Wednesday.
The Grade 10 runner ran away with the Revelstoke race, finishing 24 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor, Daniel Roodzant, of King’s Christian.
Racing against runners two years his senior hasn’t intimidated the young Seaton runner — as a matter of fact he welcomes the challenge. He won last week in Salmon Arm.
“Braden has big goals for his high school racing career,” said John Machuga, one of his coaches. “He is extremely focused and driven. Combine that with his passion and his excellent athletic ability, and it makes for a great running competitor. He is a pleasure to coach.”
Machuga, a fixture in the local running and track scene, has begun training himself to become a training partner for Kersey, who needs someone to help push his pace in practice.
“The course was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be in warm-up,” said Kersey. “The pace was fast from the beginning of the race. I’m happy that I was able to get the gap near the start and keep it through the race.”
Ian Oliphant (Grade 10) finished fourth in the junior race (7th), Gage Stoll was 7th junior (1st overall for the Grade 8s), and Tate Priebe finished 15th junior, giving Seaton gold.
On the girls side, Annika Ariano, also a Grade 10 Seaton runner, finished first overall in the girls race.
“Annika has been progressing very well and this finish was huge for her overall progression as a runner,” said coach Rachel Romero. “Annika has become very driven with her running. She is a dedicated and humble athlete who is a true team player.”
Ariano was beaming the morning after her first high school cross country win.
“I was able to power through low energy in the middle of the race and finish strong,” she said. “I’m very happy about that.”
Natayla Ariano finished 9th in the junior girls category.