Hazelton’s Regan Yee is making headlines across the province and last weekend at the BC High School Provincial Cross Country Championships in Kelowna was no exception as she captured the bronze outrunning more than 300 girls.
The course was a technically demanding one this year in the Okanagan and Yee who finished in seventh last year was hot on the heels of second place finisher Emmy Simm from Salmon Art who posted a time of 16:53.02 while Yee came in at 16:57.74 a mere 17 seconds off the first place winner.
This year, Yee was not alone at the Championships as five of her fellow competitors from Hazelton Secondary earned a berth at the Provincials. Lia Lazoratto, Chelsea Forsyth, Regan Kern and Alec Busby along with their coach Lyndon Keeping made the journey south. Craig Penfold had also earned a spot on the team but was unable to attend. One of the big reasons so many students and coach Keeping could make the journey was due to a large donation from the Hazelton Skeena Steamers Running Club who raise money to help athletes compete in competitions.
For Yee, this was her third time attending the Provincials however for the other four Hazelton competitors it was a first and something they won’t soon forget after competing against the top high school 600 runners in British Columbia. The mass start race meant both the boys and girls started in their respective divisions with more than 300 runners. Yee was ranked third going into the race and finished third in the very hilly 4.8 kilometre course. Lazarrotto finished 210th, Forsyth came in 274th in the girls events and Kern finished in 139th with Busby coming in 222nd.
Mo Yee said that he thinks all five runners should be very proud to have qualified for the competition and being able to represent Hazelton at the Provincial level.
“I think this may have been the first time that Hazelton has sent a group of runners like this to the Provincial Cross Country Championships,” he said.
For his daughter, this is the beginning of what she hopes will be another great season after becoming one of the top three in Canada last year in the Steeplechase and training full time all summer with the Smithers Club.
“In Hazelton we don’t have steeples or pits or anything,” she told the Province in an interview last month who said she is among “a host of favourites expected to compete in one of the deepest B.C. girls cross-country running fields in recent history.
While the snow is now falling in the north, Yee will continue to train throughout the winter and work towards her goals.