GPRC Wolves Cross Country Running History
For the past 25 years, the histories of the Wapiti Striders/GPRC Wolves Athletics Clubs and the GPRC Wolves Varsity Cross Country Running Team have been closely related. Most track club members have also been part of the GPRC team at one time or another and coaches Bill Corcoran and Rick Scott have also performed double duty.
GPRC has had a cross country running team since its establishment in 1966. The pre-1990 history has not been well documented, but we do know that GPRC did not have an ACAC individual or team champion in this era. Terry Smith was very close to being the Wolves first-ever ACAC champion, losing out in a sprint finish to RDC’s Rod Palm in 1988.
In the fall of 1990, Glen Chilton became the head coach of Wolves Cross Country and the program started on an upward trajectory. Current coach Bill Corcoran joined as an assistant coach in 1991. When Chilton left in 1992, Corcoran assumed the head coaching role and Rick Scott joined on as an assistant. In 1996, Corcoran and Scott agreed to become co-head coaches, an arrangement that continues to this day.
Chilton’s legacy was to increase participation. In his first year, one female athlete and five male athletes represented GPRC in x-country. By the time he left in 1992, GPRC was able to field a full teams of both six men and six women. Since then the team size has been as high as 25 women and 15 men in a single year. And as the numbers of athletes increased, the talent also improved.
ACAC medals were sparse in the early 90s. Keri Matson was the individual womens bronze medalist in 1991. The 1993 Womens Team achieved the team Bronze, which might have the College’s first-ever ACAC team medal.
The middle and late 90s were much improved. Andre Frenette struck individual ACAC Bronze in both 1996 and 1997. Frenette was also a part of GPRC’s first mens team to finish on the the podium. The 1997 Men placed third at ACAC’s hosted on their home course at Wapiti Nordic. The 1998 Men, led by Fred Setterington’s individual silver medal finish, ended up in a 3 way tie for the team championship, but were placed second on the tie breaker.
The 1999 ACAC Championship was the high point (at least to date) for the Wolves. Tara Lee Stillwell became GPRC’s first individual womens ACAC Champion. Minutes later Fred Setterington duplicated Stillwell’s feat, winning the mens race. Steph Ruch also hit the podium with a bronze in the womens race. The 1999 Womens team struck silver in the team completion.
In the year 2000, the Wolves were shut out of the ACAC podium, but they returned a year later when the 2001 Women captured the bronze medal.
2001 was also the final year of the Interprovincial Championships, a challenge race between Alberta and BC Colleges held in early November. GPRC’s Ryan Hicks was the last mens individual champion, winning the race held at Red Deer College. Other Wolves runners scoring notable performances in Interprovincials over the years included Fred Setterington (winning in 1998 and 1999) and Lori Ann Winia (silver in 1995.) In 2002, Interprovincials was replaced by the CCAA Open Cross Country Running Championship.
2002 was another great year for the Wolves, particularly the 2002 Womens Team.
Led by Jessica Schmidt’s individual silver, the women placed four in the top 12 to easily win the ACAC team championship, the first-ever team title for GPRC in x-country. Two weeks later, the feat was duplicated when Schmidt again finished second and the team won the inaugural CCAA Open Championship. The CCAA Gold was only the second-ever national championship gold medal won by a Wolves team in any sport.
While the 2003 Women were unable to duplicate the feat of 2002, they finished a close 4th at both the ACAC and CCAA Championships. The 2003 Men, however, were back on the podium for the first time since 1998, with a bronze in the ACAC team competition.
The women were back to their winning ways a year later when the 2004 Women again captured the ACAC Championship. Penny Thompson led the way with an individual bronze medal. Not to be out done, the 2004 Men captured a team bronze. Kyle Reynolds also managed an ACAC individual bronze. Co-coaches Bill Corcoran and Rick Scott were named 2004 ACAC Coach of the Year.
Two weeks later at the 2004 CCAA Championships, Reynolds scored a huge upset when he outleaned Augustana’s Carl Skinstead to become the CCAA National Champion. The GPRC women weren’t able to duplicate 2002, falling a bit short and placing second in the team competition.
2005 and 2006 were also good years for Wolves Cross Country. The 2005 Women placed second at ACACs and third at CCAAs. The 2005 men were third at ACACs. Despite placing 6 runners in the top 12, the 2006 Men fell just short of the top rung at ACACs, placing second. The 2006 Women were third at ACACs. Both teams ended up 5th at the 2006 CCAA Championships.
The 2007 Mens team marked the end of a long run of team medals at the ACAC Championships, with their bronze medal effort. 2007 also was the year that Grande Prairie hosted the nation, putting on the CCAA Championships at Wapiti Nordic on the November long weekend. Many of the same people who organized the 2005 Provincial High School Championships on the same Wapiti Nordic course were back to help out in 2007. (Click video to see Andrew Seidl’s dramatic dive for 77th place.)
The Wolves were shut out of both the individual and team podiums in 2008 and 2009 at both the ACAC and CCAA Championships. However, the Wolves were proud to host the 2008 ACAC Championships on the same course as the 2007 CCAA Nationals.
From a team perspective, 2010 was again a lean year for the Wolves, but a talented individual runner, Fiona Benson, made it a year to remember. Like Reynolds in 2004, Benson went into the CCAA Nationals as an under dog, finishing second to Red Deer’s Jodi Sanguin at the ACAC Championships in late October. However, two weeks later in Fredriction, NB, Benson turned the tables outleaning Sanguin for the win and the national college championship. Benson then continued her season with a 7th place finish at the National Junior Championships on November 27, a result that qualified her for the National Junior Team. Running for Team Canada, Benson won the individual silver medal at the NACAC Junior X-C Championships in Trinidad in February 2011 and placed 64th at the World Junior X-C Championships in March 2011.
2007 Wolves X-Country Preview
The 2006 Cross Country Wolves had a solid season with both the Men’s and Women’s teams recording 5th place finishes at the CCAA Nationals in Quebec. With GPRC set to host this year's Nationals on November 10, the 2007 Wolves look to improve on their national rankings.
The men return a single runner from last year's ACAC silver medal winning team. Peter Watson, a 2005 St. Joe’s grad and 2006 ACAC all conference runner, will lead a talented group of new recruits in a quest for a 4 th straight podium finish at the ACAC Championships in Edmonton on October 20.
Three rookies will figure prominently in the Wolves success. Deneb Carias, one of Alberta's top high school runners over the past few seasons, and Michael Apps, who competed for Simon Fraser University in 2005-06, both have the potential to achieve All Conference honours in 2007. Kyle Small, a 2006 PWA graduate, should also make an impact on the provincial and national stages.
The Women’s team will feature a quartet of returning athletes. Third year Wolf, Erin Connell, will look to improve upon her 28th place finish at Nationals last year. Second year runner, Rigel Carias, has been training consistently and should be much improved this season. Soccer players Kyla MacKay and Sara Scott will also lace up for the cross country Wolves when their schedules permit.
Newcomer Megan Crawley, a provincial high school finalist at 200m and 400m in 2006, will certainly add some speed to the Lady Wolves this season.
The Wolves plan to compete in ACAC Grand Prix races in Camrose and Edmonton in late September and early October. Following those events, the Wolves will host their own ACAC race on October 13, one week before the ACAC Championships. And, as mentioned previously, the Wolves will host the nation on the November long weekend.
When not on the road, the team will host and compete in a number of Wolves Cross Country Running Series events in Grande Prairie and in other Peace Country venues.
The coaching duo of Rick Scott and Bill Corcoran are back to guide the team. 2007 marks Corcoran's 17th year with the Wolves, while Scott enters his 16th year with the team.
GPRC Hosted 2007 CCAA Cross Country Nationals
2006 Wolves X-Country Preview
After a banner year in 2005 where both the men’s and women’s teams captured ACAC silver, the 2006 Wolves Cross Country running team is looking to continue its tradition of excellence. It won’t be easy. Last year, GPRC was the only college in Canada to produce three All-Canadian cross country runners.
While two of the three All-Canadians have moved on, 2006 CCAA 6th place finisher Sean Hawryluk is returning for a second season. The 19 year old Engineering student will lead a talented men’s team which also welcomes back Peter Watson, Brian Sherk, and Luke Rounds. Joining this quartet, are newcomers Justin Black from Dawson Creek and Dustin Fountain from Wainwright. Fountain, an accomplished triathlete, completed Iron Man Arizona last April.
The women’s team, which loses its top 3 runners from 2005, will be re-building. Returning runners Erin Connell and Britta Stephenson will anchor the rookie laden squad. Kathryn Stone, a St Joe’s grad with a solid background in endurance sports, looks to be the best of the Wolves newcomers. Soccer players Kyla MacKay, Sara Scott, and Megan Larson will also lace up for the cross country Wolves when their schedules permit.
The Wolves plan to compete in ACAC Grand Prix races in Red Deer and Camrose in late September and early October. Following those events, the teams will contest the ACAC Championships in Lethbridge at the end of October and the CCAA Championships in Montreal on November 11. When not on the road, the team will host and compete in a number of Wolves Cross Country Running Series events in Grande Prairie and in other Peace Country venues.
The coaching duo of Rick Scott and Bill Corcoran are back to guide the team. 2006 marks Corcoran's 16th year with the Wolves, while Scott enters his 15th year with the team.
X-C Wolves Looking to Improve After Banner Year
The Wolves Cross Country running team broke new ground in 2004 with both the mens and womens teams hitting the podium at the ACAC championships. These stellar team placings, coupled with two individual bronze medals at ACACs, and Kyle Reynold's win at CCAA Nationals in Edmonton , resulted in the best ever season for GPRC runners.
Looking ahead to this year, the defending CCAA silver medal winning womens team will be looking for its 3rd ACAC title in the past four years. Returnees Penny Thompson , the 2004 ACAC bronze medalist, and Angella Hallert are joined by a host of talented rookies.
One of the newcommers is Wetaskiwin's Jannelle Williamson , last year's ASAA cross country running silver medalist. Williamson, one of the top high school running prospects in Alberta , chose GPRC over a number of other ACAC schools, Canadian universities, and NCAA Division 2 schools.
Local products Shauna Telford (GP Comp), Heather Tangen (St Joes) and Christine Walker (St Joes) round out the 2005 Lady Wolves. Look for the GPRC women to be serious contenders for CCAA gold in November in Peterborough .
The GPRC x-country mens prospects look equally as bright. Reynolds and Trevor Clifford return from the 2004 Wolves along with 2001-2002 team member Roland Esposito .
Dawson Creek 's Sean Hawryluk and Luke Rounds , members of the 2004 BC High School Boys Cross Country Running Championship team from South Peace Secondary School , will provide the needed depth for the Wolves to improve upon last year's team bronze at ACACs.
And for good measure, Brian Sherk (GP Comp) and Peter Watson (St Joes) also bring some solid experience to the Wolves. Like the women, the GPRC men look to be in the hunt for a National title this year.
The coaching duo of Rick Scott and Bill Corcoran are back to guide the team. 2005 marks Corcoran's 15 th year with the Wolves, while Scott enters his 14 th year with the team.
Corcoran and Scott named ACAC X-C Coaches of the Year
The 2004 Wolves Cross Country running team's success did not go unnoticed by its ACAC peers. Last November, coaches Bill Corcoran and Rick Scott were awarded the ACAC Coach of the Year award. This marked the first time that GPRC x-c coaches were awarded this prestigious honour.
Corcoran, the Chairperson of the Business Administration and Commerce Department at GPRC, is a fully certified Level 3 NCCP Distance Runing Coach. He also coaches with the Wapiti Striders Track Club and the GP Comp.
Over the years, he's coached a number of the area's top runners including 1999 ACAC X-C Champions Fred Setterington and Tara Lee Stillwell , 2002 Canadian Junior 3000m/5000m double gold medalist Jenna Huber , and 2004 CCAA X-C Champion Kyle Reynolds .
In addition to coaching, Corcoran has been one of the province's better age 40+ middle distance runners over the past few years. Last summer he contested the M40 400m, 800m, and 1500m races at the World Masters Games in Edmonton.
Scott, a Lab Technologist with the Science Department at GPRC, is a NCCP Level 1 track and field and soccer coach. In addition to his work with the x-c Wolves, he coaches both house league and rep soccer for the GP Minor Soccer Association.
Scott is also a dedicated organizer. In the past few years, he's been the race director for the Brian Harms Road Race and the Steve Burgess Memorial Cross Country Race. He currently sits on the board of the Wapiti Striders Track Club as its Treasurer.
When he's not coaching or organizing, Scott finds some time to compete as a recreational runner and triathlete in local events.