More medals for Geraldton distance runners as two more earn qualifications to nationals

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Christi Bestry claimed the silver to continue an outstanding year
Camera IconChristi Bestry claimed the silver to continue an outstanding year Credit: Supplied

Geraldton’s cross-country runners found more medals in the Perth Hills with two more earning their ticket to nationals championships.

Joondalup Athletics Club, with support of Athletics West, hosted the 2023 WA State Cross Country Championships with several runners from the elite Mid West Athletic squad in attendance.

The runners were in for a shock as the 2km course contained two large hill climbs, presenting a vastly different challenge from the events held earlier this year.

Despite having no running experience on the course, unlike their metro counterparts, Christi Bestry continued her stunning form this year with a silver medal in the 16 years 4000m in a time of 16:35, 64 seconds off the gold medal time.

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Christi Bestry, Samaia Friesen, Bede Halford and Riley Heinrich.
Camera IconChristi Bestry, Samaia Friesen, Bede Halford and Riley Heinrich. Credit: Supplied

This year Christi has won medals in the National Junior Track and Field Championships, School Sports WA Cross Country Championships and the WA Open Track and Field championships. She also took fourth position at the Associated and Catholic Colleges of WA cross-country event.

Samaia Friesen ran in the 17 years 4000m and was happy to finish with a bronze medal in a time of 17:34. She has not finished outside the top 10 of any event this season.

Riley Heinrich competed in the 16 years 6000m and finished a very good 8th, two minutes off a medal time.

While Christi had already booked her ticket back in May, Samaia’s and Riley’s consistent performances have also earned them a trip to nationals which they will attend in Canberra on August 26.

Christi had qualified for the Australian Cross Country Championships in the SSWA All Schools Cross Country in May but now Samaia and Riley have qualified through their performances on the weekend and will attend the Nationals.

While not part of the Mid West talent squad, other Geraldton runners still had impressive performances.

The stand-out was 10-year-old Bede Halford, competing in his first Athletics West event to finish seventh in the under-11 2000m event.

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