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Handsworth senior girls win cross-country running provincial title

A burst appendix from a top runner did nothing to slow down the Royals on their way to claiming the B.C. championship banner

A burst appendix did not burst the bubble for the Handsworth senior girls cross-country running team as they raced their way to a provincial title.

The Royals ran away with the senior girls AAA team title at the B.C. high school championship meet held last month in Surrey, scoring 24 points to handily beat second place Reynolds Secondary (63 points) and third place Oak Bay Secondary (64 points). Low scores rule the day, as points are given based on where runners finish compared to other racers vying for the team title.

Handsworth’s Maggie Cormack, Brooke Hemstead, Elia Comeau and Kate Martin all scored top-10 finishes against runners in the team competition. All four runners also finished the 5,000-metre course in less than 20 minutes, a feat accomplished by only 13 total racers. Cassie Young, Julia Balchen and Lucy Henkel also raced on Handsworth's banner-winning senior team

The Royals earned the team title despite missing their top runner all season, Valeria Orozco, whose appendix burst the day before the Sea to Sky zone championship race. Orozco was released from hospital in time to make it to provincials, but could not take part in the race.

Team members “dug deep to make up for her being away,” said Handsworth head coach Ryne Melcher.

“[They] found an extra gear and had their best race of the year and were able to bring the provincial championship banner and trophy back to Handsworth for a second consecutive year,” he said.

In senior boys racing, the West Vancouver Highlanders earned silver in the AAA race, finishing behind Oak Bay and ahead of Maple Ridge. Oliver Van Dijk, Japhy Crookham, Lourens Verway and Keyaan Jivraj were the scoring runners for West Van.

The Handsworth junior boys also hit the podium at provincials, finishing third behind W.L. Seaton and Mennonite Educational Institute. The top three teams were separated by just six points. Pascal Remillard, Casey Hempstead, Eames Kim and Andy Inkster finished in the points for the Royals.