Vanderhoof is a running factory for cross-country athletes, as was demonstrated Saturday during the north-central zone high school championship, where the host school Nechako Valley secondary school ran away with the top prizes for boys and girls in the team events and in the boys solo event.
Alexander Nemethy defended his individual boys' title when he finished the boys 6.5 kilometre race ahead of the competition in a time of 22 minutes. Meanwhile, the NVSS Vikings girls team won their fifth straight title edging out the College Heights Cougars by two points and the Vikings' boys reclaimed their title after losing it in 2012.
The team scores count the top five runners from each school and add up their scores with the lowest score winning.
In girls action, the NVSS Vikings tallied 36 points with the Cougars coming second with 38 points. Quesnel Junior Secondary was third at 69 points and the Duchess Park Condors had 103 points.
On the boys side, the Vikings earned a low 37 points to win their second team title in the last three years - the Duchess Park Condors won in 2012 - with the Correlieu *Quesnel) secondary Clansmen finishing second with 44 points. D.P. Todd was third with 70 points and Quesnel Jr. Secondary followed with 98 points. Dawson Creek was fifth at 110 points.
Both NVSS Vikings teams, as well as the CHSS Cougars girls team qualified to run in the high school provincial race Nov. 2 in Langley.
Nemethy will try to improve on his 14th place individual finish at last year's provincial race when he represents the north-central region again this year. The second-place boys finisher at the zone race Saturday was Ben Blackmon from North Peace (Fort St. John), while Cole Dinsdale of Correlieu beat out a pair of Cougars for third place.
CHSS runners Isaac Goodrich and Colton Illingworth were fourth and fifth overall, respectively, while Goodrich was first among senior boys and Illingworth was third for juvenile boys. Both runners qualified for the provincial event.
The boys overall Top 10 was rounded out with: Charlie Borek of NVSS in sixth, followed by Konrad Teetzen (Correlieu), Brandon Lysholm (Dawson Creek), Brandon Balbirnie (Peter Skene Ogden Jr.) and Boyd Marchand (D.P. Todd).
Olivia Baptiste of Quesnel Junior Secondary won the girls 4.3 kilometre individual race with a time of 16 minutes, eight seconds (16.8). Baptiste beat out four runners from Prince George schools and four Vikings' runners to claim the top spot.
The Cougars Julia Babics was second overall, but first for senior girls, and PGSS Polars runner Erica Kreitz placed third overall. Babics teammate Sydney Irving was fourth overall and third among senior girls, while the Cougars Kaitlyn Joyce was 10th overall and third for bantam girls.
Avery Drew from Quesnel Jr. Secondary placed fifth, followed by four Vikings - Anika Wallace, Georgia and Kaitlyn Verduzco and Julia Steinebach.
At the 2012 provincial championship Babics finished 32nd overall.
Several other Cougars placed well in the girls event. Abby Goodrich was eighth among senior girls (17th overall), Bianca Zemlliak was 10th for senior girls (19th overall), Sheridan MacArthur was sixth for junior girls (26th overall), Ariel Gilbert and Cassidy Stella were 21st and 22nd overall, respectively, and Sinead O'Callaghan was 29th overall.
The provincial championship is Nov. 2 in Langely.