* Hazel Clark reflects on the races at the Bermuda XC Challenge at the Botanical Gardens on Saturday
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BERMUDA -- On Saturday morning, 153 runners from the ages of 10 to 81 years old started to pack the hilly Botanical Gardens in Bermuda, excited and eager to run.
The sun was peaking over the ocean in the distance and the partly cloudy skies brought a light drizzle, but that didn't even dampen the mood.
As the young athletes competed in the mile and two-mile loops, the high school runners began to prepare for the 5K. Athletes from Bermuda and the US raced for the first time on the course to kick off the Bermuda XC Challenge.
The girls lined up at the starting line, which began in the middle of the first of many hills that the athletes would endure that morning.
The starting gun went off and Melina Johnston of Robbinsville (NJ) bolted for the front of the pack. The junior, and the No. 1 seed going into this international competition, kept separating herself from the rest of the competitors. On the final loop, she crossed the finish line in 19:41 to earn her fourth win of the cross country season.
Jaeda Grant of Bermuda was able to break up the pack of US runners as she received a major cheer from the crowd as she ran across the finish line as the second-fastest girl with a 21:46. Lillian Thatcher of Central Grand Junction (CO) finished third in 23:13. The second Bermuda athlete in the field Carina Bortoli was sixth in the race with a 25:45.
* Melina Johnston wins the Bermuda XC Challenge
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GIRLS 5000 METER RUN FINALS PLACE ATHLETE TEAM RESULT POINTS 1 Melina Johnston 11 Robbinsville HS 19:41.79 2 Jaeda Grant Unattached - Bermuda 21:46.40 3 Lillian Thatcher 10 Central Grand Junction High School 23:13.69 4 Elle Diedrich 9 Central Grand Junction High School 24:02.21 5 Jocelyn Olson 11 Central Grand Junction High School 25:33.01 6 Carina Bortoli Unattached - Bermuda 25:45.06 7 Jayde Golightly 11 Central Grand Junction High School 25:54.44 8 Amaya Metli 12 Central Grand Junction High School 27:01.31
Next on the difficult course was the boys 5K race, which was dominated by the third-best team at the Colorado 4A State Championships. Seniors Shalom Trowbridge, Jackson Edwards and Alex Fisher followed Johnston's race strategy by remaining strong and consistently adding space between themselves and the rest of the field.
The boys worked together as a lap after three laps. However, it was Trowbridge who ended up on top as he clocked a 17:00 over Edward's 17:13 and Fisher's 17:25.
Central Grand Junction swept the top six finishes. Meanwhile, Tajahri Rogers was one of eight Berumidans in the field. Rogers finished seventh overall with a 19:06. Khari Sharrieff was the third-fastest boy from the island with a 20:09.
* Shalom Trowbridge after his Bermuda XC Challenge victory
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BOYS 5000 METER RUN FINALS PLACE ATHLETE TEAM RESULT POINTS 1 Shalom Trowbridge 12 Central Grand Junction High School 17:00.76 2 Jackson Edwards 12 Central Grand Junction High School 17:13.87 3 Alex Fisher 12 Central Grand Junction High School 17:25.78 4 Samuel Garmany 11 Central Grand Junction High School 18:04.39 5 Nikolaos Cady 12 Central Grand Junction High School 18:41.59 6 Yishai Trowbridge 10 Central Grand Junction High School 18:41.84 7 Tajahri Rogers Unattached - Bermuda 19:06.26 8 Andrew Buddecke 9 Central Grand Junction High School 19:31.23 9 Alexander Mendoza 12 Central Grand Junction High School 19:44.59 10 Ben Lawentman 10 Millburn HS 19:46.31 11 Seer Carey Unattached - Bermuda 19:47.77 12 Khari Sharrieff Unattached - Bermuda 20:09.49 13 Jayson Simons Unattached - Bermuda 20:23.64 14 Jack Meyerowitz 12 Millburn HS 20:36.18 15 Simon Glass 11 Millburn HS 20:42.62 16 Aj Harkness Unattached - Bermuda 20:44.15 17 Max Reid Unattached - Bermuda 21:44.06 18 Jyier Barnett Unattached - Bermuda 21:49.29 19 Linkoln Bennett 11 Central Grand Junction High School 21:49.35 20 Aaron Lugo Unattached - Bermuda 27:17.13
Bermuda XC Challenge Interviews