Justyn Knight and Junior Women win gold at APA Pan Am Cross Country Cup

BARRANQUILLA, Colombia – Justyn Knight of Vaughan, Ont., and the Canadian junior women’s team braved warm weather conditions to claim gold at the inaugural APA Pan American Cross Country Cup, Sunday, Feb. 22.

Knight earned individual gold in the junior men’s race finishing 11 seconds in front of his nearest competitor. Nathan Tadesse of Surrey, B.C. (10th), Ben Preisner of Milton, Ont. (11th), Rory LInkletter of Calgary, Alb. (16th) also contributed to the team score to help secure silver for the junior men’s team. Jules Burnotte of Sherbrooke, Que., placed 41st and Jeremiah Ort of Carman, Man., did not finish.

Powered by the podium finishes of Hannah Woodhouse (silver) of Clarksburg, Ont., and Branna MacDougall (bronze) of Kingston, Ont., the Canadian junior women claimed team gold over the USA 24-27. Canada put a total of five women in the top 25 with Nicole Hutchinson of West Vancouver (8th), B.C., Jennifer Baragar-Petrash of Winnipeg, Man., (11th), Claire Smith of Ottawa, Ont. (16th) and Mirelle Martens of Grande Prairie, Alb. (24th).

Rachel Hannah of Toronto, Ont., won individual bronze in the senior women’s race to lead the team to a runner-up finish. All of the Canadian senior women finished in the top 20 to win a team silver medal: Natasha Labeaud of Kelowna, B.C. (11th), Fiona Benson of Dawson Creek, B.C. (13th), Natasha Wodak (15th), and Jillian Forsey Kippen, N.L.(20th).

Kelly Wiebe of Swift Current, Sask., led the senior men’s team with a tenth place individual finish, and the senior men’s team placed fourth in the competition. Following Wiebe across the line were: Kevin Tree of Tottenham, Ont. (14th), Matt Johnson of Esterhazy, Sask. (25th), Ryan Cassidy of Grande-Digue, N.B., (35th). Barry Britt of Hampton, N.B., did not finish.