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St. John Paul II Academy students run to podium at provincial championships

Peninsula students compete in cross-country provincial finals
St. John Paul II Academy students Abeti Gutsche, left, and JB (John Benedict) Diego placed second and third, respectively, in the two-kilometre para race at the provincial cross-country championships in Victoria Saturday, Nov 5. (Submitted by Sonya Kupka to the Peace Arch News)

Two local athletes landed on the podium at the B.C. high school cross-country championships Saturday (Nov. 5) at Royal Roads University in Victoria.

With more than 900 runners competing, St. John Paul II Academy science teacher Mark Wilkie was pleased with the efforts of the team of four students he travelled with to compete in the finals, though they were missing a sick teammate.

The sunny weather was a great setting for the championships, which, Wilkie noted, students must qualify for by competing in the South Fraser zone championships. From there, the top 12 travel to compete at provincials in Victoria.

St. John Paul II Academy Grade 9 student Abeti Gutsche placed second in the two-kilometre para race with a time of 10:35, followed by Grade 12 student JB (John Benedict) Diego, who place third with a time of 12:42.

The para category is an open category, which means anyone who feels they might be able to compete, can – even if they have physical or developmental disabilities, Wilkie noted.

“It’s meant to make it a completely inclusive event to get all people of all abilities involved,” Wilkie said.

Grade 11 student Veronica Dee placed 14th in the five-kilometre race, with a time of 19:27.

“It was a smaller team this year but they did great! I’m so proud of them.”

READ MORE: High School cross country champions crowned in Greater Victoria


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Tricia Weel

About the Author: Tricia Weel

I’m a lifelong writer, and worked as a journalist in community newspapers for more than a decade, from White Rock to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, to Abbotsford and Surrey, from 2001-2012
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