Surrey champs: Clayton Heights girls claim district banner

Top row, left to right: Michelle Peters, Kae-lin Shergill, Rylee Singleterry and Tianna Markin. In front: Julie Sevsek and Christina Sevsek.  - Contributed photo
Top row, left to right: Michelle Peters, Kae-lin Shergill, Rylee Singleterry and Tianna Markin. In front: Julie Sevsek and Christina Sevsek.
— image credit: Contributed photo

The future of cross country running is looking very promising at Clayton Heights Secondary, where the girls Grade 8 team are savoring the rewards of a great season.

The Night Riders captured their first district banner last month, beating perennial Surrey powerhouse Earl Marriot by just one point in the season aggregate.

It’s an historic win for the team because the field has traditionally been dominated by the southern Surrey secondary schools of Marriot, Semiahmoo and Elgin Park – not to mention their cross-Cloverdale rivals, Lord Tweedsmuir.

Helping to turn it around for Clayton Heights were sisters Christina and Julie Sevsek – twins who appear to be in synch when it comes to their sport of choice.

The two girls finished every race this year in a two/three placing, but the twins were unable to beat Elgin runner Danielle Steele all season long. But the Sevseks were on her tail for all five of Surrey’s official meets – plus the Fraser Valley Championships, held in late October at Aldergrove’s Big Rock Lake Park.

The twin dynamos are a product of north Cloverdale’s HIllcrest Elementary, where Christina and Julia ran off with countless first and second place cross country ribbons.

The girls – Christina in front, Julie hot on her heels – had a habit of lapping the field. the sisters' finishing gap appears to be closing now that the girls have entered high school competition, with a number of close finishes this year, including the last meet, where Julie was behind her sister by only a few paces.

[Christina and Julie Sevsek, right]

In order to count full points on the season aggregate, a team must have four runners at a meet, meaning number three-and four-place runners placings are critical.

The other members of the girls Grade 8 team also played a huge role in the championship, including Rylee Singleterry, who finished in the top 10 in all five of her races, a steady, season-long performance that helped put CHS over the top.

“Without her, there would not have been a title,” said Gary McLaughlin, who coaches the team along with Steve Robertson and Sarah Daintrey.

Also critical to the Night Riders’ this season were runners Michelle Peters and Kai-lin Shergill, late additions who were released early from the school’s volleyball team and who consistently placed in the top 15.

The Sevsek twins, Singleterry and Peters all played full time on the school’s Grade 8 volleyball team and also play community soccer.

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