Sisters lead Spartans to cross-country silver

Rhian and Ehren Paterson both crack top-10 at high school provincial championships

A little sibling rivalry helped push the Sentinel Spartans senior girls team to a silver medal showing at the high school cross country running provincial championships held Saturday at Vancouver’s Jericho Beach Park.

Grade 12 senior Rhian Paterson was heading for the finish line of during her final cross country race as a Spartan, aiming for a top-10 finish, unaware that little sister Ehren, a Grade 10, was reeling her in from behind.

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“Rhian was in 10th and Ehren was in about 15th when they went by me with about 200 to 300 metres to go,” said Sentinel co-coach Mark Fenn. “And then Ehren, she’s very competitive, she had her eye on her sister and she was tracking her down towards the end. There was a little bit of sibling rivalry there.” 

In the end little sis couldn’t quite catch her older sibling, but in a race featuring 242 runners, both Paterson sisters cracked the top-10. Rhian finished ninth in a time of 18 minutes and nine seconds, with Ehren just behind in 10th place, eight seconds back.

“They’re great competitors,” Fenn said. “They had fantastic races, and the rest of the girls were just fighting for every point throughout the whole race. Almost all the girls had their best race of the year, so it was really nice to see that all come together at the end of the year.”

All seven of the Sentinel runners finished in the top-80 overall, with Sarah Lavallee placing 32nd and Cameron Hill coming 39th to round out the foursome of scores that would count for the team total. Team scores are determined by adding up the placings of the top four runners from each school – once racers not on a full team are removed – and the lowest score wins. The Spartans were battling with Oak Bay for gold, trying their best to catch the Breakers and their superstar Justine Stecko, who won the race.

“Every point was huge,” said Fenn. “When the race was over we didn’t know who had won, we knew it was that close.”

Oak Bay ended with 43 points while Sentinel scored 56. The third-place team, Revelstoke Secondary, scored 81. Handsworth finished fourth with 92 points. 

“Those two point totals were very low,” said Fenn of the scores put up by Oak Bay and Sentinel. “Our score on many given years would have won it. They were two very good scores for sure. Oak Bay was stacked, they were going to be tough to beat, but we gave it a run anyway.”

On the boys side North Shore runners fared well, led by a pair from West Vancouver Secondary. Aidan Doherty raced onto the podium, finishing third behind identical twins Zach and Tyler Wyatt from Langley’s R.E. Mountain, while Doherty’s teammate Alexander Farlinger was just behind, finishing fourth. The four runners broke away from the pack on the final lap and staged an epic race to the finish. The West Van runners very nearly tracked down the talented twins in the final sprint, said Fenn.

“I think if that race went another couple hundred metres, they were gunning them down for sure.”

West Van’s dynamic duo helped the Highlanders finish fifth in the senior boys team competition, with North Vancouver’s Windsor Secondary right behind in sixth place.

At the junior level Argyle Secondary scored fourth in the junior girls team competition while Handsworth placed fourth in junior boys. Ges Bushe of West Vancouver finished second in the para division.

The event was co-hosted by Sentinel and West Vancouver, along with the West Van school district and North Shore Secondary Schools’ Athletic Association. Hugh Wilson, Lauren Hart, Leslie Buchanan, Colin Dignum, Gerry Karvelis, and Maureen de St. Croix joined Fenn in organizing the event, which took place on a cold and clear morning at picturesque Jericho Beach Park, topped off by a light dusting of snow for the final race of the day, the senior boys.

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