By REDintern Romaine Soh

valerie lai river valley high

Valerie Lai of River Valley High on her way to finishing as her team’s fastest runner. She finished third in the individual standings in a time of 18:27. (Photo 1 © Les Tan/Red Sports)


Bedok Reservoir, Saturday, January 19, 2013 — The heavy rain that had been raging since the wee hours of the morning did not stop the River Valley High team from finishing tops after they beat powerhouses Cedar Girls’ Secondary to win the Under-18 team title at the 62nd Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) Cross Country Championships.

Anastasia Filimontseva of Reds Xtreme 2 was the fastest U-18 female runner in a time of 18 minutes 2 seconds while Jillian See of Chung Cheng High (Main) was second in 18:19.

Valerie Lai of River Valley was third in 18:27 and together with teammates Carissa Choo (4th; 18:45) and Crystabelle Wang (7th; 19:16), helped River Valley High to a first-place finish with 14 points.

The Reds Xtreme 2 team of Anastasia Filimontseva (1st), Nurul Natasha (8th; 19:21) and Denise Chia (13th; 19:34) were second with 22 points, while Nah Yi Xin (5th; 18:56), Lee Yuet Zhen (9th; 19:22) and Edina Tan (11th; 19:32) helped Cedar Girls’ to a third-place finish with 25 points.

The SAA meet is an important event in the calendar as it is the first cross country meet of the year, allowing the school runners to assess themselves in their journey towards the ultimate goal — the National Schools Cross Country Championships, in mid-March.

Valerie Lai, Crystabelle Wang and Carissa Choo, who won the C Division team title for River Valley in 2012, have moved up to the B Division this year, and they look favourites to snatch the B Division championship back from Cedar Girls’ this year. River Valley last won the B Division title in 2011.

As the horn sounded, there was much jostling, as everyone fought to be in the front of the pack, not only to avoid being stuck in the back, but also to stay clear of the mud that was being flung from someone’s strong back kick.

Cedar captain Edina Tan shared: “Since the rain was rather heavy, there was poor visibility, thus we couldn’t see who was in front of us. It was a misjudgement on our part. We will do better in the next race (at the Wings Cross Country meet)!”

“As for racing in the rain, it was a new and interesting experience! Although our shoes got wet and resulted in us having to drag more weight, it beats running under the sweltering sun!” added Edina.

Her teammate Nah Yi Xin chipped in: “I had to eat mud that (teammate) Xin Ying was happily kicking back when she was in front of me!”

With this turning of the tables, it will indeed be interesting to watch who will ultimately come out on top at the schools championships.

U-18 Results (Top 20)
1st Anastasia Filimontseva (#329, Reds Xtreme 2) — 18:02
2nd Jillian See (#323, Chung Cheng High (Main)) — 18:19
3rd Valerie Lai (#365, River Valley High) — 18:27
4th Choo Xing Yi Carissa (#364, River Valley High) — 18:45
5th Nah Yi Xin (#303, Cedar Girls’) — 18:56
6th Christy Jeremia Suriadi (#376, Singapore Sports Sch) — 19:09
7th Wang Jia Yu Crystabelle (#366, River Valley High) — 19:16
8th Nurul Natasha (#332, Reds Xtreme 2) — 19:21
9th Lee Yuet Zhen (#301, Cedar Girls’) — 19:22
10th Wong Shi Ying (#367, River Valley High) — 19:22
11th Tan Yi Qin Edina (#304, Cedar Girls’) — 19:32
12th Foon Si Han (#369, River Valley High) — 19:34
13th Denise Chia (#330, Reds Xtreme 2) — 19:34
14th Yeo Yue (#383, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’) — 19:35
15th Lok Xin Ying (#302, Cedar Girls’) — 19:43
16th Chen Huijia (#368, River Valley High) — 19:52
17th Marianne Elizabeth John (#326, Crescent Girls’ Sch) — 20:08
18th Lim Peak Kee (#382, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ Sch) — 20:10
19th Kathleen Lin Yuxin (#325, Crescent Girls’ Sch) — 20:21
20th Nur Razlynn Binte Raslan (#335, Jurong Sec Sch) — 20:22

U-18 Team Results (Top 3)
1st Team 1 from River Valley High School — 14 pts
Valerie Lai (3rd), Carissa Choo (4th), Crystabelle Wang (7th)

2nd Reds Xtreme 2 from Fabian William Coaching Concepts — 22 pts
Anastasia Filimontseva (1st), Nurul Natasha (8th), Denise Chia (13th)

3rd Cedar Team 1 from Cedar Girls’ Secondary School — 25 pts
Nah Yi Xin (5th), Lee Yuet Zhen (9th), Edina Tan (11th)

62nd SAA Cross Country Championships — full results