File photo courtesy of Tyler Dozzi

© Copyright -2016 – Victoria Sports News

Oak Bay High School’s Tyler Dozzi is the 2016 Canadian Cross Country Champion in the youth division. He won the race handily in Kingston, Ontario Saturday, November 26 over a talented field, despite forgetting the most important item in his gear bag.

Dozzi finished the five kilometre course in the time of 18:50.9, which represents a large, near nine-second lead over the second place finisher, Joshua DeSouza. DeSouza, representing Team Ontario crossed the line in 18:59.6, while the third place finisher, also from Team Ontario, was Max Turek who was credited with the time of 19:06.2.

Dozzi is on a roll. Two weeks prior he won the BC High School Cross Country Championships that took place just outside of Kelowna at Telemark Nordic Ski Club. The preceding weeks he won the BC Club Cross Country Championships in Nanaimo and the Island High School Championships in Victoria at Beaver Lake.

“[I am] Feeling pretty great right now. To me, being the national champion means that everyone who’s supported me and believed in me, and all of my hard work has truly paid off,” shared Dozzi.

Dozzi has been supported by his parents, who let him move from their home in Terrace, BC to Victoria to pursue his running career at the age of 15. He is training with the Prairie Inn Harrier Youth Team, which is coached and managed by two-time Olympian Bruce Deacon. He is also attending Oak Bay High School.

Oak Bay has a long history of producing talented middle and long-distance athletes. The school’s boys and girls cross-country teams have won dozens of Island Championships and are always a force at the provincial meet.

Dozzi experienced a little pre-race anxiety, having forgotten the most important item in his gear bag.

“I forgot to bring my spikes to the race, and ended up running in someone else’s that were a bit big and looked a little like sprint spikes. It was a bit of a panic, as I only found spikes to wear two minutes before the race started.”

Dozzi ran a tactical race, not unlike the way he won the provincial championships, by exhibiting patience.

“I was staying near the back of the lead pack for the first two laps. Someone made a move half-way through the second, so I followed from a few metres back,” said the 17-year-old. “Going into the third lap he tried to stretch it out so I had to pick it up a little bit. At the beginning of the third, he slowed down to a jog to let me pass him, so I slowed down for a bit at first, and then took it with some speed.”

Dozzi won the provincial championships by biding his time with the favourite Thomas Nobbs of Vancouver, and then he unleashed a furious kick over the final few hundred metres, which were mostly downhill; his forte. He employed the same tactic in Kingston, “I put in a few faster surges based on the course, and stretched my gap on the downhills. I knew the guy behind me was a kicker, so I made sure there was no chance of it coming down to that.”

In the girls youth race Madison Heisterman from the Cowichan Valley finished 37th in a gutsy race.

Victoria area master runners (40+) Graham Cocksedge finished second to Vancouver’s Jeremiah Ziak.  Craig Odermatt was also one of the top finishers over the 8K course, he crossed the line sixth overall.  Both Cocksedge and Odermatt are former UVic Vikes. Odermatt is a highly consistent cross-country runner and often podiums, while Cocksedge is on a “don’t call it a comeback,” comeback. He also raced the provincial meet in Nanaimo, acquitting himself well after taking several years off. The order was the same with Ziak winning and Cocksedge finishing second.

UVIC Vikes athlete Chloe Hegland, who grew up playing soccer on the Peninsula and holds two Guinness Book of World Records for ball juggling, was the top Victoria area runner in the very deep senior women’s category. She finished in a respectable 37th position.

Team BC was well represented in Kingston, with many top performances from Vancouver based runners. Full results are available here>>

Tyler’s post-race interview at BC Cross Country Championships and interview – Kelowna border=

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