The annual Wiikwemkoong Invitational cross country races took place last Thursday. This event, long hosted by the Rainbow Ridge Golf Course in Manitowaning came back home after a one year hiatus at the ball field in downtown Wiikwemkoong. Despite the previous day’s torrential downpour and Thursday’s wind warnings the day went off without a hitch.
In the individual age group races, here were the medalists. In the eight and under girls’ division Violet Sutherland (Shawanosowe, Birch Island) was first followed by Rowan Kasunich (Lakeview) and Brynn Best from C. C. McLean. The finish of the boys’ race was Roen Deschesnes of LCPS and then the CMPS, 2-3 of David Joyce and Benny Cooper!
In the age 9 – 10 girls’ race, Central Manitoulin’s Mya Balfe broke the tape with Assiginack’s Sapphire Case and Lily Stewart rounding out the medal round. The boys’ event was won by Assiginack’s Rylan Pennie, the silver went to Jack Bridgeman (CMPS) and bronze to Dane Gibeault (APS) who won the medal with a super-gutsy, finish-chute sprint!
The 11 – 12 girls’ race was won by Lakeview’s Maren Kasunich, but followed closely by summer training partner Ava Assinewai. The pair worked hard since last season with Manitoulin coaching icon Gerry Holliday. In third, another CMPS Eagle, Annie Balfe. In the boys’ race, Davin Deschesnes once again took first, but Assiginack’s Brodie Pennie did not make it easy for him as he too second. Classmate Xavi Mara rounded out the class with his third place finish.
Congratulations to the 13-plus category! These runners are a rare breed. They have outlasted all their other fellow classmates who were on the start line with them when they were in the eight and under race years ago! In the girls’ race, Delaney Bridgeman (CMPS), a longtime Island cross country winner, tried out a new way to win. Running behind an also celebrated Island runner, Shaolin Roy (Wasse Abin), Delaney was not used to her position. However, she was a quick learner on how to run from behind and eventually finished ahead of her worthy opponent. In third place was Mikaila Staruck, also of Wasse Abin. The boys’ race was an LCPS 1 -2 finish with Allan Wilkin and Billy Biederman winning the Gold and Silver. Assiginack’s Jack Pennie zipped in to capture third.
Taking the overall team trophy was Central Manitoulin Public School, followed by Little Current Public School and C. C. McLean. Thanks for all the hard work put in by organizers, Jeff Eshkawkogan, Barb Shepard, Henry Hoy and all of the Rainbow Ridge employees.
A few years ago, two Wiikwemkoong elite athletes were married. Solid defenseman Eddie Shawana (one of the best ever members of the Hawks and Panthers) tied the knot with Ramona King Wakegijig (an awesome cross-country and track runner). One might have predicted that two athletes like these two will produce great athletes, well lo and behold their young son Jaden Shawana has made the AAA Nickel Capital Wolves Atoms! Surprise? Congratulations Jaden and your athletic parents!
Mark Aljoe, son of former Panthers scoring star Trace Aljoe, has acquired a spot on the Hanover Barons Jr. A club although still of midget age. He is also a nationally-ranked juvenile golfer. Congrats to the Aljoes.
Wiky Road Race this Sunday!
The 45th annual Wikwemikong 10K Championships and 10K walk is set for Sunday, October 21. Once again the 10 km Slower Runner Division for beginner runners and walkers is sponsored by the Wikwemikong Health Centre Diabetes Program and it starts at 10 am in Kaboni.
The 10km championship run starts at 10:50 am with registration going from 8:30 to 9:30 am at Wasse Abin Pontiac School. The entry fee is still just $20 for adults and $10 for students and it includes a t-shirt and a sure bet for some fabulous prizes. There is a shuttle service available to get runners up to the start line. A truly great event; why not give it a try. For more information call (705) 859-3164.
A good sport is good for sports.