Peace Country Wolves at Athletics Alberta Provincials 2021

Tayla Pillay Finishes 800m race

A 9-athlete strong team of Peace Country Wolves Athletics Club members descended upon Strathcona Athletic Park in Sherwood Park, Alta this past weekend. Competing in many events the Peace Country Wolves had a strong showing.

Starting off the weekend with some long sprints and 1500s on Friday night, we saw a first-time competitor in the Girls U16 category contest the 300m. The athlete Tayla Pillay would continue to contest two more events over the course of the weekend in the 100m (Saturday) and 800m (Sunday).

Next up on the track Chris Nelissen (also going by Coach Chris) decided to lace up his spikes for the well-known pain of the 1-lap race.

Jacob Farnsworth U18 Boys, Kobe Grocholski U20 Men’s and Hayden Hollowell Senior Men’s in 3 separate races all settled into a 1500m. Grocholski, with a time of 4:06.33 won the U20 Men’s 1500m Alberta title.

Coming back for more, joining Tayla in the 800m fun on Sunday was Maddy Twelvetree U18 girls, Kobe Grocholski, Hayden Hollowell and Chris Nelissen. Twelvetree with an impressive result in the 800m race of 2:32.84 which ended up being good for a heat win and finished 5th overall with the U18 Women. Maddy, not only runs solid 8’s but also long jumps, competing in that completion as well.

Jacob Farnsworth coming off a strong 1500m race on Friday, returned Sunday to contest for the first time the U18 Boys 2000m Steeplechase. Now this being 2km worth of running sounds like a jaunt in the park, Farnsworth had to battle 5 solid barriers including one with a very cold and foreboding water pit having never encountered one until that time.

Looking at first time experiences, getting a late start to the sport, Saren Bradshaw flew out of the blocks for a great start her 200m race. In a very solid debut race, Bradshaw ran through the line stopping the clock at 29.98. In contrast to the late start in the sport, our youngest club competitor in this meet, Logan Currier U14 Boys, ran in the 100m and 600m running very well in both events.

Finishing up the meet, the Peace Country Wolves put in a 4x400m Senior Men’s relay team. In an epic start to the race, Brandon Tufford from past PCWAC glory came back from retirement and ran a 50 second first leg, just fractions of a second off his personal best. Following, Hollowell and Grocholski ran legs 2 and 3 to set up Nelissen in the Anchor position for a blistering run for 4th and a personal best of 49.3 seconds.

PCWAC Senior Men’s 4x400m team

It was a meet for the books. Special thanks to our support from family and friends at the meet and away.

Shout out to Tairas for his coaching prowess and to Zach and Brenden for all the videos and pictures.

Well done one and All!

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Train, Compete, Repeat.

Kobe Grocholski finishes third in the 1500m with a lifetime best time of 3:58.09!

First a hearty congratulations to the small contingent of Peace Country Wolves Athletes who competed at the Caltaf Track Classic this past weekend in Calgary!

We saw multiple personal records get rewritten on track. Huge congrats to Kobe Grocholski who went 3:58.09 in the 1500m for the big under-4 minute PR and followed up with a PR showing of 1:57.74 in the 800m the following day!

Logan Currier had an excellent weekend as well PR-ing all his races as he challenged the150m, 800m and 1200m.

Jacob Farnsworth also contested the 800m and 1500m in the U18 category. Working hard in the 1500m but not achieving the desired result, Farnsworth redoubled his efforts in the 800m the next day and posted a solid time of 2:11.77.

Bill Corcoran, our clubs southern Albertan Branch member, participated in the Caltaf Classic as well as a Master’s athlete in the Shot Put and 800m posting a Seasons Best time.

Next stop, Sherwood Park Track Classic August 6-8!

On the home front, training has been going hard and steady. We have an enthusiastic crew who is there to work. Participant numbers range from 10 -20 depending on the day of the week. We have a variety of event groups training split into 3 groups: Distance, Sprints and Jumps, and Multi-eventers.
It has been a pleasure working with all the groups and seeing the progression. Excited to see the how the rest of summer training goes.

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Alberta Athletics news on COVID-19

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Wolves gain valuable experience at XC Nats

Kobe Grocholski finished 26th in the 2019 Athletics Canada XC Championships in Abbotsford, BC

Half a dozen Peace Country Wolves Athletics Club runners were in Abbotsford, B.C. this weekend to contest the 2019 Athletics Canada National Cross Country Running Championships.

Beaverlodge’s Kobe Grocholski ran a smart race, steadily moving through the field and finished 26th in the Men’s U18 6 km race. Faith Blanchette contested the U18 Women’s 4 km race and placed 69th.

In the U 20 men’s 8 km race, team mates Miguel Macedo and Chris Nelissen battled each other the whole way and ended up 67th and 69th respectively. Ashley Brady ran in the U 20 women’s 6 km race and finished 54th.

Hayden Hollowell competed in the Senior Men’s 10 km distance and wound up 84th.

Full results are posted here.

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van der Geissen Leads Wolves at CCAA XC Nationals

Concordia’s Leonard Cheeso leads St Clair’s Carter Free in the Men’s 8 km race at the 2019 CCAA Cross Country Running Championships in Grande Prairie, AB

GPRC runner Anna van der Geissen capped off a stellar third season with the Wolves by delivering a 7th place finish at the 2019 CCAA National Cross Country Running Championships in Muskoseepi Park on Saturday.

Under tough, frigid conditions (-15 C, wind, and 15 cm of fresh snow),  van der Geissen went out fast with the lead pack in the women’s 6 km race.  Her early aggressive running paid off, as she was able to establish a gap on all but a few of the bes college runners in Canada and hold on for a top-10 finish.  For her efforts on Saturday, van der Geissen earned 2019 CCAA All Canadian status for women’s cross country running.

Anna van der Geissen receives her 2019 CCAA All Canadian Award for women’s cross country running

Collectively the Wolves Women placed ninth in the team standings.  van der Geissen’s team mates Taryn Kokesch (46th), Brittany Duvall (63rd), Kailey Bratland (75th), Krista Frey (76th), and Lydia Steinke (77th) also contributed to the team score.

The Wolves Men were able to improve on their 13th place pre-race national ranking.  Led by Hayden Hollowell (47th) and Chris Nelissen (52nd), the GPRC boys finished 12th in the team race.  Other GPRC finishers included Jordan Lundstrom(67th), Adam Wangler (76th), Taylor Hudak  (78th),.and Tairas Fournier (89th).

Fanshawe College from London, ON was the winning team in the men’s 8 km race; Lethbridge College captured the women’s crown.

Individually, Concordia University of Edmonton’s Leonard Cheeso won a close battle for the gold medal with St Clair College’s Carter Free.  Simone Plourde  from Andre Grasset was the women’s individual gold medal winner.

A total of 106 men and 89 women from colleges in Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec took part in the event.

Full results are listed here.


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Bronze for Wolves Women at ACAC XC Champs

The GPRC Women placed third at the 2019 ACAC XC Championships in Calgary.

After a five year absence, the GPRC Wolves Women’s XC Running Team returned to the podium on Saturday at the 2019 ACAC  Cross Country Running Championships in Calgary. Scoring 66 points, the GPRC women won the bronze medal behind the top-two ranked college xc running teams in the country Lethbridge College (gold) and Red Deer College (silver)

Anna van der Geissen (right) battles the elements and competition on the way to a 4th place finish at the 2019 ACAC XC Running Chammpionships

The GPRC ladies were led by a 4th place individual finish from third-year runner Anna van der Giessen. After finishing 15th in last year’s ACAC Championships, van der Giessen has had a breakthrough season this fall, recording a number of top- five placings in ACAC races.  On Saturday, she started strong, hung in with the leaders for most of the race, and remained in individual medal contention until 200m to go.

For her efforts, van der Gieissen named to the 2019 ACAC XC Running All Conference Team.

Taryn Kolesch also had a strong run, recording a 17th place finish. Teammates Maria Houle (20th), Kailey Bratland (25th), Lydia Steinke (26th ), and Brittany Duval (27th) followed closely.  Other Wolves finishers included Krista Frey (32nd) and Elizabeth Rojas (44th).

The Wolves Men’s team finished equal to their pre-meet provincial ranking: 5th. Individually, team captain Hayden Hollowell struggled with a breathing issue and faded to a 22nd place finish.  However, Hollowell’s team mates employed a strong pack running strategy and recorded solid individual finishes: Chris Nelissen (18th), Jordan Lundstrom (19th), Taylor Hudak (20th), Adam Wangler (23rd), and Tairas Fournier (35th).

The Wolves runners wrap up their season in two weeks when they host the 2019 CCAA National Cross Country Running Championships at home in Grande Prairie.  Two hundred college runners from Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec will take part in the race through Muskoseepi Park.

Full results are posted here.


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Trio of Top Ten Placings for Local High School XC Runners

St Joe’s runner Faith Blanchette placed 4th at the 2019 ASAA XC Running Championships in Medicine Hat

Three GP area high schoolers posted stellar results at the 2019 ASAA Provincial High School XC Running Championships near Medicine Hat on Saturday.

St. Joe’s runner Faith Blanchette had the top local placing, fourth in the Senior Women’s race.  Blanchette covered the hilly, 5 km course in 22:39.

Beavelodge’s Kobe Grocholski ran in the Senior Men’s 6 km and posted a time of 22:20, good for 7th.

In his first ASAA provincial championships, JP II’s Liam Tinworth debuted with an 8th place finish in the Junior Men’s 4 km.  Tinworth covered the course in 15:49.

Full results are posted here.

While High School Provs marked the end of the xc running season for most local athletes, Blanchette and Grocholski will continue training for another month.  Both athletes, along with a number of other Peace Country Wolves Athletics Club runners, will be in Abottsford, BC at the end of November for the 2019  Athletics Canada National Cross Country Running Championships. 

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van der Giessen Third at Augustana XC Race

Anna van der Giessen (far right) placed 3rd amongst the College runners at tht 2019 Augustana Open XC Running race

GPRC Wolves runner Anna van der Giessen recorded the best ACAC result of her career on Saturday, posting a third-place finish among the college runners at the Augustana Open XC Running Race in Camrose.

The third-year Nursing student from Bezanson started strong and maintained a steady pace on the way to recording a time of 25:00 for the hilly 6 km course, 39 seconds behind the winner, Sophia Nowicki, from Lethbridge CollegeShayla Sklaruk from Red Deer College placed second.

Hayden Hollowell was the top Wolves runner in the men’s 8 km race. He placed tenth amongst the college runners, clocking a time of 29:30 for 8 km.

Lydia Steinke (left) and Krista Frey (right) contributed to the Wolves women’s 5th place finish at the 2019 Augustana Open XC Running Race

Collectively, the Wolves squads both finished fifth in the women’s and men’s team standings.

Complete race results are linked here.

The Augustana race was the fifth and final ACAC Grand Prix race of the season.  Next up for the Wolves in the ACAC Championships in Calgary on Oct. 26.


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Wolves Women Third at ACAC #4 XC Running Race

GPRC Wolves Women’s XC Running team celebrates their 3rd place finish at the 2019 Jordan Fish Memorial in Calgary on Saturday

Posting their best team result in a full-field ACAC race in years, the GPRC Wolves Women’s XC Running team ran to a third place finish in ACAC #4 Grand Prix – The Jordan Fish Memorial in Calgary on Saturday.

The team was led by a 3rd year runner Anna van der Geissen who placed 6th among the college runners over the hilly 6 km course. Taryn Koesch (11th), Kailey Bratland (20th), Krista Frey (21st), Brittany Duvall (22nd), and Lydia Steinke (24th) were the other Wolves finishers.

Collectively, the GPRC team scored 58 points, one better than the 4th place University of Alberta – Augustana.  Lethbridge College (28 points ) edged Red Deer College (36 points) for the win.

GPRC athlete Hayden Hollowell (right) battles with SAIT runner Darryl Ross (left) in the 8 km race at the 2019 Jordan Fish Memorial XC Running Race in Calgary

The GPRC Men also had a solid result, 5th place in the men’s 8 km race. The team scored 51 points, a scant 14 points behind the winning team from Red Deer College.

Hayden Hollowell was the top Wolves runner posting a 6th place individual finish among the college runners.  Hollowell was followed by Chris Nelissen (12th), Jordan Lundstrom (14th), Taylor Hudak (19th) and Tarias Fournier (29th).

A pair of high school runners representing the Peace Country Wolves Athletics Club also took part in the meet.  Kobe Grocholski placed (22nd) in the men’s race, while Faith Blanchette finished (17th) in the women’s race. Grande Prairie’s Ashley Brady, representing the University of Calgary, was 36th.

Next up for the XC Wolves is ACAC #5 – The Augustana Open in Camrose on October 12

Full results will be posted here

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Locals Shine at Steve Burgess Memorial XC Race

Chris Nelissen (grey shirt) leads out the elementary school runners in the 2 km race at the 2019 Steve Burgess Memorial XC Running Races

Over 220 runners from across the province convened at Muskoseepi Park on Saturday for the 18th running of the Steve Burgess Memorial XC Running Race.  While Edmonton area athletes took the top places, a number of local runners managed top 10 placings in the featured 6.2 km and 8.25 km races.

Leonard Cheeso from Concordia University of Edmonton (CUE) scorched the field in the men’s 8.25 km race recording a time of 26:18, nearly 3 minutes ahead of second place Micho Green of the University of Alberta – Augustana Campus (UAA).  Local runners Hayden Hollowell and Brandon Wladyko were the next two runners across the finish line. Beaverlodge’s Kobe Grocholski (7th), GPRC’s Chris Nelissen (8th), and Jordan Lundstrom (10th) were the other the Peace Country athletes finishing in the top 10.

GPRC and PWAC runners approach the start line at the 2019 Steve Burgess Memorial XC Running Race

In the men’s team standings, the UAA came out on top.  The Peace Country Wolves Athletics Club (PWAC) was second.

The women’s 6.2 km race was won by former ACAC XC Running Champion Vanessa Trofimenkoff.  Local runners Faith Blanchette (PWAC) and Anna van der Geissen (GPRC) placed 5th and 6th respectively.

CUE won the women’s team title, while GPRC placed second and PWAC finished third.

Other category winners included

HS Boys 6 km    Landon McKechnie   Dawson Creek

HS Girls 4 km   Sydney Kinderwater  Charles Spencer

JH Boys 4 km  Dylan Leadley   Peace River

JH Girls 4 km Reese Holman   Charles Spencer

Elm Boys 2 km Brian Becker  St Mary’s Beaverlodge

Elm Girls 2 km Taylor Waslychew  Bezanson

The Steve Burgess race served as a trial run for the 2019 CCAA Nationals XC Running Championship race to be held in Grande Prairie on November 9.  Feedback from the athletes who competed on Saturday indicated that the course was both challenging and interesting.

Full results are posted at the Race Pro Results site.


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