In cross-country running, it’s survival of the fittest. And William McDonald School is the fittest.
The Wildcats are once again the overall champions of the NWT Cross-Country Championships, which were held in Fort Providence on Oct. 6. The school won the total points banner and the grand aggregate title, which takes the total number of points a school earns based on results divided by the number of athletes.
Jeff McConomy was the school’s head coach and said it was an impressive result, considering the team was almost half of what they took last year.
“We went down with absolutely no expectations,” he said. “We had about 20 kids last year and just 11 this year so I figured the high school teams would have bigger teams and dominate it.”
Turns out that didn’t happen, with eight of the 11 Wildcats hitting top three in their races, including three gold medals. Alexander Fast won the bantam boys division, Shannon Mercer captured the bantam girls title and Colton Robertson snagged the midget boys crown.
In all, William McDonald scored a total of 80 points for an aggregate of 7.28, good enough to steal the title.
McConomy said the team prepared by practicing twice a week, with one of those sessions set aside for the distance they would face in Fort Providence.
“We wanted to condition the kids,” he said. “Having the track (behind the school) was a big help because that gave us a chance to work in our own backyard, so to speak.”
There were more runners who came out to practice with the team but McConomy said they wanted to keep in shape.
As with any good cross-country race, the conditions on Friday were cold, muddy and damp.
Just the way a good cross-country event should be, said McConomy.
“We like to say if you didn’t get muddy, you weren’t doing cross-country,” he said. “It was a miserable day – soggy and damp – but that made it a great day and even better for us as champions.”
The official results for the other races weren’t available of press time, but see future editions of Yellowknifer for the remaining standings.