Oak Bay boys tops among BC runners

Junior and senior boys earn first-place finish at provincial cross-country championships

Oak Bay’s Tyler Dozzi is first across the finish line to claim the senior boys’ title at the B.C. high school cross-country championships Saturday in West Kelowna.

Oak Bay High’s boys cross country teams are tops in the province after a successful weekend in the Okanagan.

Both the senior and junior boys finished first in team results after the Nov. 5 championships in Kelowna.

The girls battled hard through illness to finish fifth among the senior teams and seventh among the junior teams.

Among the boys, “all seven of the senior boys are in Grade 12. They won last year as well. It’s quite a talented group,” said Keith Butler, who coaches the Oak Bay cross-country squad with fellow teacher Tessa Kubicek

The course was among the most challenging in B.C., in large part due to the 3,000-foot elevation, Butler noted. The senior boys completed three laps of the course for about 6.5 km, while the other divisions finished two laps for 4.7 km.

With a talented core of runners on both the girls and boys’ sides, “you go to that expecting to do well, and with a culture of commitment.”

On the boys’ side, Tyler Dozzi followed his first-place Island finish with a B.C. title, finishing in 24:22.47, more than a minute ahead of the second-place runner.

Vlad Lyesin finished ninth overall, followed by Malcolm Harrison in 15th and Jack Stanley in 17th. Butler credited Stanley’s perseverance, noting he had battled through season-long injuries. “That’s inspirational to the whole (group).”

Among the junior boys, Joe Robertson finished the 4.7 km course in second place, with a time of 17:36.31. Findlay Day finished fourth, followed by Michael Barber in 11th and Alex Lott in 18th.

The senior girls, who were hoping for a second-place finish, fought through illness to finish fifth, with Justine Stecko leading the charge with a third-place finish. Cara Butler finished 20th, Presley Rangel 54th and Kyra Clements 61st.

The junior girls had Sarah Bryan cross the line first in fifth place, followed by Isabel Murphy in 33rd, Alisa Lyesina in 39th and Tayah Giesbrecht in 43rd.

Looking ahead, Butler expects a talented core of runners to return next year, when the distances will become uniform 5 km across both boys’ and girls’ races.