The cross-country team at zones in Smithers on Saturday

Grypons aim to improve at cross-country provincials

The Gryphons cross-country club are aiming to finish in the top five at provincials next month.

The Gryphons cross-country club want to close out the season with a bang and are aiming to finish in the top five at provincials next month.

Sixteen athletes, 13 juniors and three seniors, are heading to Victoria for the B.C. High School Cross Country Championships on Nov. 1.

Jody Barber, the team’s head coach, said zones a few weeks earlier helped prepare the team, with both the junior boys’ and girls’ teams winning the team categories.

“Zones went really well. They’re a really keen bunch and they’re running really well,” said Barber.

Junior Ryan Williams placed second with a time of 16:54, while Hannah Pow won the junior girls’ 4.4-kilometre route in 20 minutes.

Zoe Bizarro also took the top spot for senior girls with Molly Brawdy just seconds behind.

Now the team is turning to their final  challenge: provincials.

Barber admitted, there will be a learning curve involved.

“It’ll be learning experience for them. It’s a bit crazy when you start 250-300 athletes in a running race,” she said. “I have no idea how the girls are going to do, but it’ll be fun.”

During last year’s provincials, the junior boys’ team finished in sixth place.

“I think our boys have a very good chance at improving on last year’s sixth place finish,” said Barber. “They’ve been taking care of themselves and training hard and they really want it. I think they’ve got all parts of racing in place to have a good race.”

But one of the biggest challenges will be travel time.

The team is making the drive down to the Island and hope to arrive by Thursday night to have Friday to prep.

In total, there are 32 athletes from the northwest zone heading to provincials.