lIn chronological order, here are 14 highlights from 2014:
#1 – Triple Gold at AA Indoor Provincials
March 1 and 2 – AA Indoor Provincials, Edmonton
Wins by Hayden Hollowell (Senior Mens 1500m), Brittany Duvall (Youth Girls 3000m), and Nicole VanDerKaaden (W35-49 High Jump) highlighted WAC participation at 2014 AA Indoor Provincials in March.
#2 – Wiggie’s Wonderful Winter
March 7, 8 – ACAC Indoor Track Championships, Edmonton
With a silver medal at ACAC’s and a 5th place finish at the 2013 CCAA XC Running Championships , Jamie Wigmore established herself as one of the top college runners in Alberta. By the end of the 2014 indoor track season, she left no doubt that she was THE TOP women’s distance runner in the ACAC.
Wigmore had an outstanding indoor season. She won a total of five ACAC races in distances ranging from 400m to 1500m. Wigmore established new GPRC school records in 5 distances (400, 800, 1000, 1500, and 4 x 400m relay).
At the 2014 ACAC Indoor Championships, Wigmore won 3 individual gold medals (400, 800, and 1500) and anchored the 4 x 400m relay team to a bronze. Collectively, the Wolves women placed third in team competition.
Sanchez Hollowell also distinguished himself at the ACAC champs with a gold medal performance in the 1500m and a bronze in the 3000m.
#3 – Provincial HJ Record for VanDerKaaden
May 10 – 2014 Peace Country Classic, Grande Prairie
168 athletes of all ages and abilities descended upon the Legion Track on Saturday, May 10 for the 2014 Peace Country Classic/Grande Prairie Hershey Meet.
The day produced a number of memorable performances including a provincial W40-44 record in the high jump. Club member Nicole VanDerKaaden leaped 1.30m to set the new Alberta standard.
#4 – Repeat Double Win at DHT 10 km
May 24 -Daily Herald Tribune Press Run, Grande Prairie
For the second year in a row, WAC athletes took the top prizes in the Daily Herald Tribune Press Run 10 km road race.
Hayden Hollowell defended his 2013 title, winning this year’s race in 35:05, 4.5 minutes ahead of the second place runner.
With defending women’s champion Jamie Wigmore out with an injury, Mirelle Martens stepped up to represent the mighty WAC. In her first-ever road race, won the women’s event in just over 41 minutes. (And a few hours later soloed a 5 minute flat 1500m for good measure … just saying.)
#5- Multiple Zone Titles for WAC High Schoolers
May 30,31 – NW Zone Track and Field Champs, Peace River
Mirelle Martens, Kailey Bratland, and Brittany Duvall combined for a total of 8 wins at the 2014 NW Zone Track and Field Championships in Peace River.
Martens won the Senior Girl’s 800, 1500, and 3000, Bratland topped the field in the Junior Women’s 400 and 800, and Duvall triumphed in the Junior Women’s 1500 and 3000.
In addition, the trio combined with Kelsey Bishop to win the Open Women’s 4 x 400m in a new Zone record time.
#6 – Martens Repeats in Provincial High School 3000m
June 6,7 – ASAA Provincial High School Track and Field Championships, Calgary
In June 2013, an unknown Mirelle Martens burst on to the provincial scene with a convincing win in the 3000m at the ASAA Provincial High School Track and Field Championships. A year later, she returned to Provincials, this time as the favorite.
The 18 year old St Joe’s student did not disappoint, winning the Senior Womens 3000m title for the second year in a row. Martens also placed second in the 1500m, which also duplicated her 2013 result in the event.
#7 – Iconic Beard Ends 28 Year Run
June 15 – Rick Finally Shaves, Some Barbershop in Sydney, Nova Scotia
Hell froze over, pigs flew, and Rick Scott lost his signature face rug in mid June.
Fortunately, for fans of the hirsute (ya, look this one up), Beard 2.0 was re-established almost immediately. By the end of 2014, Rick’s visage (yep, you may need to look this one up as well) was back to its normal homeostatic state.
#8 – Sanchez’s Sensational Summer
July 12, 13 – 2014 AA Outdoor Championships, Sherwood Park
Five years ago, a young lad from Hythe joined the mighty WAC and embarked upon his career as a mid and long distance runner. Over time, he progressed from a pretty good local runner, to a pretty good high school runner, to a pretty good college runner, to a CIS-caliber runner for the University of Saskatchewan.
During the spring and summer of 2014, Hayden Sanchez Hollowell set 6 PRs (yep, PRs, not PBs – this is Western Canada!) in a variety of distances from 800m to 5000m. At provincials, he lowered his 1500m time to 4:05.59 – a full 11 seconds better than he ran in high school.
Mirelle Martens also had a successful outing at outdoor provincials. She captured her first AA provincial title, winning the Junior Women’s 3000m in 10:31, a personal best time aka her new PR in the event.
#9 – Top 8 Finish for NW Zone Team at ASG
July 25, 26 – Alberta Summer Games, Airdrie, AB
As usual, the NW Zone team managed an 8th place finish (out of 8) at the Alberta Summer Games in Airdrie. And also, as usual, the NW Zone team had the most fun out of all eight Zones at the Games.
For the record, the NW Zone track team had 7 podium finishes (5 silver and 2 bronze). The NW Zone was also recognized with the Spirit of the Games Award.
#10 – Wolves Women’s XC Team Ranked #1 in the Nation
October 4 – ACAC #4 SAIT Pre-Nationals, Calgary
In 2014’s first CCAA XC Running National Rankings, the GPRC Wolves Women’s team was ranked second. As things turned out, this was the “low point” of their sensational season.
On October 4, the Wolves women took on the defending national champion UBCO Heat and all of the ACAC’s best in Calgary. By the end of that race, it was clear that the GPRC women were a force to be reckoned with. The Wolves easily won the meet with a score of 22 points, 13 better than second place Lethbridge College. UBCO placed third.
In the next CCAA rankings, the Wolves moved to #1 in Canada, a position they maintained for the rest of the season.
#11 – Top Ten Finish for Duvall at Provincial High School XC
October 18 – ASAA Provincial High School XC Running Championships, Okotoks, AB
After missing the top ten by a single place in 2013, Brittany Duvall redeemed herself with a tenth place finish in the Intermediate Women’s 4 km race in the 2014 ASAA Provincial High School XC Running Championships in Okotoks.
Team mate Kailey Bratland also had a strong run, placing 13th , 20 spots better than her 2013 result.
#12 – Wolves Women Dominate at ACAC XC Champs
October 25 – ACAC XC Running Championships, Ft. McMurray
Placing four women in the top 7, the Wolves women easily won the 2014 ACAC XC Running Championship in Ft McMurray.
Led by individual gold (Mirelle Martens) and silver (Jamie Wigmore) medalists, the GPRC women scored 16 points, 21 better than second place SAIT.
#13 – GPRC Women Destroy Field at CCAA Nationals
November 8 – CCAA National XC Running Championships, Calgary
With a meet record score, the Wolves Women’s XC running team captured its second national team championship at the 2014 CCAA National XC Championships in Calgary.
Mirelle Martens led the way with a convincing 31 second win for the individual gold medal. Jamie Wigmore(4th), Jackie Benning (8th), and Amanda Patteson (11th) were the other GPRC scorers.
With 19 points, the Wolves finished 53 points ahead of second place SAIT, setting CCAA championship records for best team score and largest margin of victory.
#14 – Big Mir Caps Big Season – makes National Junior Team
November 29 – AC National XC Running Championships, Vancouver, BC
In 2013 in her third-ever xc running race, Mirelle Martens faced the best runners of her age in the country at the Athletics Canada National Cross Country Running Championship. She finished 33rd.
One year later, armed with much more racing experience, Martens was ready. Running an aggressive race where she stayed among the top five for the entire way, Martens kicked hard over the final 400m and hung on for the bronze medal.
For placing among the top 6, Martens was selected for the 2015 Junior National team which will contest the Pan Am XC Running Championships in February and World XC Running Championships in China in March.