Thursday, October 27, 2016
By Rob J. Ross
LONDON, ON. - The St. Joseph's Rams came up big and it wasn't due to the size of their team in terms of numbers either.
St. Joe's won the overall girls title, at the WOSSAA cross country championships, a first for the St. Thomas school.
The Rams senior boys and senior girls took the team titles and qualified for OFSAA, the provincial meet, November 5, in Port Hope.
The Rams were everywhere throughout Springbank Park, as St. Joe's brought 73 athletes to the meet.
Joey Hardy led the senior boys, posting St. Joe's best individual result, finishing sixth. Kyle Luyt also cracked the top 10, with a ninth place finish, followed by Jordan Palmer, in 14th and Cameron Douglas, 16th.
The Rams senior girls had a surprise top finisher, with Jocelyn Delgado, in seventh place. Becca Brown's sprint over the final 100 metres lifted her to 11th place. Kyleigh Stubbs, the team's usual top runner endured a tough race, slipping to 25th spot, while Savannah Cronk, was 30th.
The top two teams (five runners per team) and the top five individuals, not on the top two teams, for each division, advance to the OFSAA championships, held in Port Hope, Saturday, November 5.
"It's a big deal. It's really exciting," St. Joe's coach Annette Barry expressed. "It was lovely to tell the girls of all three teams that their efforts were part of the overall championship.
"It's the guts the kids show. I'm just as proud for the kids who run at the back of the race, did it all year and stuck with it. The culture of the team is very supportive and part of our success."
For cross-country, WOSSAA includes all schools, no matter the population.
It wasn't a day without adversity for the Rams.
Stubbs, usually a top five finisher, struggled.
"She could have qualified as an individual, but it wasn't her day," Barry said. "The other three girls had the races of their lives."
Douglas injured his knee during a practice run last weekend and didn't run again until WOSSAA.
"He could barely walk after the race," said Barry.
The senior team titles are a first for St. Joe's, with both featuring runners who were part of the Rams' junior teams that won in previous seasons.
Two years ago, St. Joe's was junior boys' champions, with Hardy and Douglas. A year ago, the junior girls' team finished a top their division, led by Stubbs.
Of the current senior team, four of the five runners are in grade 11, with Becca Brown, the lone grade 12 athlete.
St. Joes' other top 10 result was Kaila Novak, seventh, in the midget girls' race, missing an OFSAA berth by one position.
LDSS midget boys fourth
Lord Dorchester's midget boys' team placed fourth, led by Jaxon Nolte, in 14th place.
"Jaxon ran well. He was in a good spot, but a couple guys passed him in the last kilometre," Dorchester coach James Tennant said.
With London Laurier and London St. Thomas Aquinas, the top two teams, taking seven of the top 13 positions, Nolte missed an OFSAA berth by just two spots.
Laurier, with four runners in the top 13, took the midget boys' team title, just ahead of STA, featuring Justin Sanders, the race champion. London Central was third, with three runners in the top 20.
Following Nolte, were Trevor Whitesell, 20th, Garrett Snyders, 29th and Matthew Vervoordeldonk, 32nd.
"Matthew and Garrett ran really well. They probably moved 20 spots from earlier in the year at Fanshawe (invitational meet), to today (WOSSAA)."
Dorchester's top female results were Leah May, 22nd, in the midget race and Lauren Gellner, 36th in the senior division. Senior boy Colson Erb placed 25th.
Tennant watched his daughter, Mary, finish third in the midget girls' race, running for London Catholic Central.
From across Elgin
Leading the East Elgin Eagles was junior girl Amy Knelsen and junior boy Nathaniel Abell, both 14th in their respective races.
Haylee Vlasman was the Central Elgin Titans top finisher, placing 20th in the midget girls' race.
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