At high noon on Friday, Oct. 28, the Vikings cross country team boarded their long boats to undertake a six hour voyage to the north to raid their rivals on the Wapiti Trails of Grand Prairie. They embarked on a worthy quest, and their opponents took notice. Viking co-chief Gerhard Lotz observed that "the Norman Kings quivered in their castles, the Trojans retreated to Rome, the Bears and the Wolves cowered in their lairs, the Cowboy teams ran for the hills, and the Thunder and Lightning were muted by Odin's bolts." A foggy Saturday morn would lay waste to hundreds of brave runners, ready to battle among the evergreens, up and down the trails and through the grassy fields.
A fiery gunshot set bodies to motion, the battle underway. Hundreds of footsteps pounding the muddy, snowy and sandy earth were like that of the caribou escaping hungry prey. Valiant warriors took their task to charge, and were shown bright among the haze of exhausted runners. Emily McIlroy (11th), Leah Reid (39th), Katelynn Cook (40th) fearlessly took to the front lines as Annika Olesen (43rd), Emily Lyseng (44th), Tayla Koerber (49th), and Daniella Burke (55th) protected the flanks from within the field of 58 runners.
Just as the mist of battle seemed to settle, the earth shook again to the tune of a herd of angry muskox. Matt Martin (6th), Joedy Dalke (9th), Eric Rust (14th), Bryce Turner (17th) led the charge as Michael Cole (20th), Reece Bailey (24th), Sasha Eccleston (41st), Brett Meyer (49th), and Jackson Sweder (52nd) challenged from the midst of the field of 57. These men fought hard to the wire, cementing a third place finish just 6 points behind the Kodiaks.
Viking co-chief Robert Renman, who masterminded the campaign, was duly impressed by the inspired showing of his charges.
Despite the blood shed on Saturday, all enemy teams of Alberta will unite as one and travel to Sault St. Marie, Ontario to battle the Nation in the who's who of distance running. Vikings Matt Martin (All-Conference), Joedy Dalke, Bryce Turner, Michael Cole will represent the Vikings in full heart and honour, running for the homeland on November 12.
-submitted by by Joedy Dalke, 4th year Physical Education (Outdoor Education stream)