The University of British Columbia’s Thunderbirds, along with Whitehorse’s Kieran Halliday, were soaring high on Saturday.
The UBC cross-country team dominated at the Association of Independent Institutions Cross Country Championships in Aurora, Colorado, just outside of Denver.
“It’s great to be part of the team,” said Halliday. “For every one of these trips you realize how awesome it is being able to do this sort of thing, being able to represent your school, being able to represent your teammates and represent yourself. It’s just something I’m thankful for and I look forward to doing it every single time.”
The Thunderbirds won the team titles and the individual titles for both male and female at the event.
Halliday, who was in his first championship race representing UBC, placed 16th, completing the eight-kilometre course in just over 29 minutes.
“I was pretty happy with the whole thing, it was a great experience,” said Halliday.
“The course was super fun. It was really spectator friendly, so you could see the whole course from the start line, so that made it really easy for the coaches.
“It was an eight-kilometre course at altitude – Denver is ‘The Mile High City’ – so it was really hard,” he added. “The times were pretty slow because of how hard it was to breathe up there.
“I think I was 29:01. Just to put it in perspective, that’s like two and a half minutes slower than my PB (personal best).”
Halliday, who is in his second year at UBC, placed ninth for his team. By not making top-seven, he will not go on to represent his school at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championships later this month in Charlotte, N.C.
“I didn’t make the national team this year … but I’m looking forward to making the national team for track in the spring,” said Halliday. “It was a great experience, I’m happy the team did super well and I’m looking forward to keep on representing UBC.”
Halliday placed 57th overall and 22nd for junior male at the 2015 B.C. Provincial Cross Country Championships last month in Nanaimo.
The 19-year-old has represented Yukon in athletics and tennis at the Canada Summer Games and Western Canada Summer Games, and in snowshoe and snowshoe-biathlon at the Arctic Winter Games, winning multiple gold medals in the latter.
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