Though Ali Jacoby’s trails were fairly flat during cross-country meets all season, she didn’t let a few hills deter her when she reached the final race of the year.
The 15-year-old Miles Macdonell Collegiate student tamed the elevation at the Epinette Creek Trail at Spruce Woods Provincial Park on Oct. 16 to emerge as the provincial junior varsity girls’ cross-country champion, edging out runner-up Inke Schwonke of River East.
"There were lots of hills, there was no flat area," the Grade 10 student said of the three-kilometre trail. "This was the most hilly. There was one race where we ran up one hill three times, but the other ones were relatively flat."
Jacoby appreciated the school’s proximity to Kimberly Hill, which coach Billie McBride said played a major part in the team’s training, as it practised there weekly.
Jacoby, who won all four of her previous meets this season, was third in the race’s opening stages before taking the lead and never looking back.
"I felt that somebody was right behind me, I didn’t keep looking, but I sensed that I had to keep up and not slow down in case that she was right there," said Jacoby, who has been competing since Grade 4.
"As we got into further distances and trickier terrain, the gap between her and the next-place girl kept widening," McBride said. "She’s got excellent cardio skills."
In addition to Jacoby’s athletic prowess, McBride also praised her team-building skills, as Jacoby rounded up many of the six athletes on the junior varsity girls’ squad. For being a team player, Jacoby earned a Buckeye of the Month Award.
"She came to all the practices, she recruited other members for the team, and she just really made herself a part of the team, and a leader on the team," McBride said.
Jacoby plans to compete on the track team later this school year, and is also an integral part of the volleyball program.
McBride said the meet was a successful one for the Buckeyes, as the junior varsity boys’ team finished third in the AAAA team category. In all, Miles Mac brought 35 athletes out to Spruce Woods, located just southwest of Carberry, including the Kilcona Peguis Athletic Conference champion varsity girls’ squad.
"In all honesty, they have the best growth when they’re practising on their own," McBride said. "We give them a calendar. We suggest what they should be doing every day, and those that do it, you can really tell that they’ve been working hard."
Other northeast Winnipeg medallists were Caleb DeJong of Murdoch MacKay, who took silver in the varsity boys’ event, and Elmwood’s Alain Baraka, who took bronze in the junior varsity boys’ race. In the team competition, Calvin Christian Collegiate finished second in the A-AAA junior varsity girls’ category.