Fidelis Osunkwo, Sonya Johnson Deliver Victories In Bermuda

(High School Division, race start)

Photo Credit: Derrick Dingle - MileSplit

Devonshire, Bermuda -- American athletes from a variety of states and local island runners took on the incredibly scenic yet highly demanding Botanical Gardens course on Saturday for the 2023 Bermuda XC Challenge

At stake were the featured high school division races in conjunction with the Bermuda National Age-Group Championships. 

Additionally, showcasing that this meet provides opportunities for everyone, a community division contest was staged featuring coaches, parents and local adult running enthusiasts. 

The state-side contingent was represented by competitors from New York, New Jersey, Colorado and the District of Columbia and in total 153 participants toed the line during the meet's second annual edition.

(3x American Olympian Hazel Clark highlights the day of celebration)

High School Girls Championship Division

Displaying a measured approach, Sonya Johnson earned the High School Division win. 

Traversing the first two loops of the Botanical Gardens course with a composed effort, the freshman from Central Grand Junction, CO held a narrow lead over teammate Lillian Thatcher and local Bermudan standout Jaeda Grant

On the third and final loop Johnson pushed the pace, creating a gap that propelled her first to the finish line with an official mark of 20:50.33. 

Johnson, who owns a 2023 season's best of 19:08.90, wraps up a successful XC campaign that saw her take 17th place at NXR Southwest Region and 53rd in the ultra-deep Colorado Class 4A State Cross Country Championships

Thatcher, a junior class runner and veteran of the Bermuda XC Challenge, moved up from her 3rd place performance a year ago to second on the podium this year. She clocked 21:38.29.

Similar to Johnson, she gained big meet experience at NXR and Class 4A State this season. Notably about Thatcher, she displays a diverse distance running game that also takes her to the trails. She was the 15th place finisher at the 2023 National High School Trail Championships.

One of the most promising young runners from Bermuda, Grant, a staple at our XC Challenge and Track and Field Challenge projects, rounded out the top 3 with her 21:43.13 performance.

(Sonya Johnson debriefs on her race victory)

High School Boys Championship Division

Running stride-for-stride throughout the early and middle portions of the Botanical Gardens' 5-kilometer lay-out, Fidelis Osunkwo and Yishai Trowbridge benefited from each other's push. 

Without many extended straight-aways, they continuously tested one another on the course's various steep climbs and fast descents. 

The New Yorker Osunkwo, who represents Harry S. Truman during the high school season, found just enough separation late in the race and carried it through to the finish line, winning in 17:37.50. 

With one of his main objectives achieved, Osunkwo was adamant that he put in a strong showing to represent the PSAL back in his native Empire State. 

Among his season highlights was winning the PSAL City Championships in early November. 

Seasoned to the XC Challenge via his 6th place finish last year, Trowbridge moved up the charts to runner-up honors in 2023. 

The junior out of Central Grand Junction, recorded a mark of 17:46.57.

In third position was Arjun Bhat, Jackson-Reed High School, DC, who produced a time of 18:00.56. 

Bhat punctuated a successful freshman XC campaign where he collected four race wins, a top-20 performance at the DCSAA Cross Country Championships and a personal best mark of 17:00 flat.

(Fidelis Osunkwo capped off an amazing experience in Bermuda with a 1st place finish)

Results Rundown ~ Meet Champions

Boys 10 & UnderAdrian MyersMid-Atlantic Athletic Club
Girls 10 & UnderYara MuhammadDeveloping National Athletes
Boys 12 & UnderAs'ad MuhammadDeveloping National Athletes
Girls 12 & UnderSukanya JobsonBermuda Pacers Track Club
Boys 14 & UnderChavi Pacheco HillDeveloping National Athletes
Girls 14 & UnderAntoinette BarryBermuda Pacers Track Club
Men's CommunityDage MinorsBermuda National Team
Women's CommunityGayle LindsayMid-Atlantic Athletic Club

(High School Division, race start) 

Photo Credit: Derrick Dingle - MileSplit

Related Links

Bermuda XC Challenge Results

Bermuda XC Challenge Articles

Bermuda XC Challenge Photos

Bermuda XC Challenge Interviews

Bermuda XC Challenge Race Videos