As if turning in the fastest time among more than 650 junior girls at one of North America’s largest cross country meets wasn’t impressive enough, Brantford’s Alex deVries broke a nearly 50-year-old record while doing it.
DeVries, 14, won the 48th annual McQuaid Invitational in Rochester, New York, on the weekend with a time of 9:43 in the junior girls 1.62 mile race.
That time shaved 11 seconds off the all-time course record for junior girls.
“I didn’t know I was on the pace at first,” deVries said. “When I heard I was on the record pace, I wanted to go even faster because I wanted to make sure I got it.”
The McQuaid invitational attracted more than 7,500 runners from across the United States and Canada.
Brantford running coach Cory Currie was invited to bring a team of dedicated runners to compete.
He said deVries has a gift, but also works at her sport tirelessly.
“She follows the program and is eager,” Currie said. “She loves it…it’s her passion. She does a training log and even records what she eats so every week we can sit down and see what’s working and what isn’t working.”
Other runners that train under Currie’s Without Limits Personal Coaching program turned in solid times.
In the seeded boys varsity AAA three mile race, St. John’s College student Tyler Van Leeuwen finished 28th overall with a time of 15:50.
A group of eight students from North Park Collegiate took part in the seeded boys AA race, paced by Riley Malcolm’s 14th place finish with a time of 15:35.
Ty Moore came in at 16:16, Austin Solak at 16:50, Ben Sayles at 16:51 and Jake Moore at 17:40.
Currie said the meet is a great experience for up-and-coming long-distance runners.
“Especially for runners at their level, it’s about getting them exposed to the U.S. schools,” Currie said. “The recruiters don’t come here looking for runners unless they are medalling at OFSSA, so the runners that are finishing at the top and still doing well don’t get a chance to hear from as many universities as the ones medalling or breaking records.
“It’s about getting them exposed to that atmosphere and show them their options.”
Currie has a slow but steady plan to improve deVries’ running throughout her high school career.
“She still has four more years to go, so we don’t want to burn her out all at once,” he said. “We want to keep her fresh for her whole high school career.”
DeVries hopes to take her running to a higher level as she gets older.
“I’d like to do well at the rest of my high school meets,” she said. “But I also want to run for Canada one day.”
The Brant County Secondary School Athletics Association cross country meet is coming up on Oct. 17.
DeVries might also have another significant running prize in her near future.
She was leading the standings in the inaugural Brantford Tournament of Races with 118 points after five of six races that made up the local series.
While the final standings are being tabulated for a Nov. 29 banquet, deVries ran a solid 5 km event at the Brant
Waterways Run for the Rivers and Trails on Sept. 23, finishing in third place for under-19 girls.