Provincial high school cross country championships taking place at Prime Ministers’ Park Saturday

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Midget boys’ and girls’ competitors make their way around Prime Ministers’ Park during the North Central regional cross country championships last Thursday.

Nearly 600 athletes will converge on Prime Ministers’ Park Saturday as the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association holds their 2019 provincial cross country championships.

Although it may seem like a daunting task to have that many competitors in one spot, the host Carlton Crusaders are prepared for any challenges they might face, especially after they ran the North Central regional meet last Thursday afternoon.

“It was a great trial run for us and now that we’ve fine-tuned a couple of things, we’re pretty excited about what’s ahead,” Crusaders cross country running head coach Carolyn Bennington said.

“The biggest thing was just setting up the course to make sure no one is confused by anything. We wanted to make sure that everything was mapped out well so that nobody gets lost or ends up going in the wrong direction.”

Six different races will be held during Saturday’s competition, which gets underway at noon.

The midget boys and girls will run on a 3-kilometre layout, the junior boys, junior girls and senior girls will compete in 4-km races and the senior boys will race over a 5-km course.

“With the location that the meet is at this year, there are no big hills like we’ve seen at some of the other courses in recent provincials,” Bennington said. “There might be some people that enjoy the meet as a result of that, but that depends on how they have been training for this year’s provincials.”

The host North Central team will have 44 competitors taking part in this year’s meet, with Carlton, Ecole Valois and St. Mary representing Prince Albert.

“It’s not just runners from here though, as we have a number of athletes from around the district coming this weekend, especially from the smaller communities,” Bennington said.

“There’s some really strong runners in each of the age groups, so we’re hoping to have some good showings on Saturday.”