St. Joe's runs away with junior boys' team title with five in the top 10 for a return
to OFSAA along with 12 other runners from Elgin County and Dorchester
Thursday, October 25, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
LONDON, ON. - Before 10 runners crossed the finish line, the St. Joseph's Rams had the junior boys' division team title clinched.
That's how dominate the Rams were at the Western Ontario (WOSSAA) cross country championships, held at Fanshawe Golf Club, having five of the first nine runners, led by Aiden Coles who finished the six kilometre race in second place.
The Rams are returning to OFSAA, after placing eighth as a team a year ago, at the midget level, now renamed novice.
Fellow Rams Cerena Aitken-Guignard, second in the junior girls' race and Will Mantel, seventh, in novice boys, will join the junior boys at OFSAA, in Sudbury, Saturday, November 2nd.
Dorchester Beaver's novice girls' team, Parkside Stampeders junior boys Mason Basson and Vincent Moore and East Elgin Eagle senior Hallee Knelsen, also qualified for the high school provincial meet in the land of the Big Nickel.
The top two teams in each of the six divisions, and the top five individual runners not on those two teams, advance from WOSSAA to OFSAA. For team results, the top four runners count toward team points, with the fifth used as the tie-breaker.
Throughout the season, the Rams became the bighorns in this area, winning team titles at the Dorchester, Springbank, Springwater and Fanshawe invitational meets.
All the while the Rams' goal was OFSAA.
"Going into the season we obviously really wanted too (return to OFSAA). Before this meet we expected it would happen because we've been doing so well in the past meets. We have solid six guys," said Aiden Coles. "Being able to train with each other and getting close to each there throughout the season has helped us. We have good groups of two or three guys who can push each other during the race."
London Central's Heath McAllister crossed the line first, before five of the next eight runners were Rams. Aiden, his brother Tristan and Brent Hagerty finished two-three-four, followed by Harrison Belanger and Aiden Holder, in eighth and ninth spots.
McAllister, the 2018 OFSAA novice boys' champion, finished eight seconds ahead of Aiden Coles.
"I tried to stay on his shoulder for a lot of it. For the first kilometre and a half he wouldn't take the lead, so I had to take it. Then once he did take it, he started surging," said Aiden Coles. "Being the OFSAA champion, it's cool to be trying to stay that close to him."
Now the Rams are eying a team title at OFSAA.
"Last year I think we could have done better considering a bunch of us didn't have the best race," said Aiden Coles. "This year our goal is to win like most team's, but I think we have a good chance."
Four runners in the top 25 gave Dorchester the novice girls' team banner, led by Hannah McIntrye who finished fourth.
"This is one of my goals. It feels good that I achieved it. Now I can just go and see how fast I can run there," said McIntyre.
Jenna Wideman was 14th, Devin Dance, 20th and Tegan Ceccanese, 23rd, Nicola Hammond, 38th and n a race of 80 runners. The Beavers' fifth and sixth runners, Allie Humphries and Gwen Beattie, finished 39th and 43rd, respectively.
"It feels great to have the opportunity to make it to a race that some people call once in a lifetime in our first year," said Ceccanese. "Our strength is the way we are able to support each other through the race. We keep talking, keep positive, keep pushing hard through the races together. Our team is what keeps us going if we're having a tough race, or not strong enough time, the others keep them up."
McIntyre remained in the lead pack with eventual winner Paige Marchant, of London CCH, Lorelai Phinnemore, of Arva Medway, and Sydney Murdock, of London Oakridge, until the second time up the steepest hill on the course. Murdock, a former Mitchell Hepburn Mustang, took home the bronze medal.
"That's when they went and I didn't have it," McIntyre said. "My plan was to try and stick with them and whatever happens at the end happens. I could definitely tell I was pushing myself in the second part of the race. I could feel it. Everything was going through my mind. I stuck with them and that made me happy. At the end I kind of cruised in."
Knelsen is returning to OFSAA cross country for a third year in a row, placing fourth in senior girls, although the Grade 11 student didn't have the race she desired.
"During the race I didn't feel the same energy that I usually do. It was an off day," said Knelsen. "I feel I might have gone out a bit hard and that burnt me out a bit. I got dizzy at the finish and didn't feel like myself."
The four-time OFSAA competitor, two in cross country, two for track and field, Knelsen hopes to improve on her 26th place showing in her midget year.
Aitken-Guignard is making her OFSAA debut, following a silver medal run, behind winner Laine Young, of Stratford St. Mike's.
"That was my goal for this season, so it feels really good that I made it," said Aitken-Guignard. "The first lap Maya (Robinson), Laine and I really worked well together. It was an overall good race."
Aitken-Guignard's older sister, Arielle, ran at OFSAA two years ago, when she was in Grade nine.
Mantel finished seventh in novice boys, taking the final individual qualifying berth to OFSAA.
A late kick in the junior boys' race helped Basson secure his berth to the provincial meet, finishing fifth.
"Surprising to me, but I'm happy," Basson said. "I didn't know if I was going to make it, but I pulled through in the last 800 (metres). I was in ninth with 600 to go and then I went ham (exerting an aggressive amount of effort)."
Moore placed 11th to nab the final individual qualifying spot.
Dorchester had a successful day and just missing having an enormous day, as the Beavers' senior boys and novice boys' teams both place third.
"We got a win and two thirds and I think that is pretty good," Dorchester coach James Tennant said. "We kind of lost out on the seconds, but if you stand back and look at it, we had a pretty good day.
"The (novice) girls were predictable because they have taken care of business all year. All the girls ran awesome and consistently meet after meet."
It was an excruciating result for the senior boys, missing a return to OFSAA by finishing one point behind St. Anne's, while London Central took the team title. Dorchester was seventh at OFSAA at the novice level a year ago.
"It could have gone differently with the senior boys but it didn't and that's the sport. Six years ago we had a senior boys team qualify by one point. We won that one and this time we lost it," Tennant said. "(Evan Gllies) being injured changed everything. Johnny (Ledgley) ran awesome and my lead guys (Connor Erb, Owen Pink) ran well and it still wasn't quite enough because there were three or four teams that were really solid."
Dorchester's novice boys, led at WOSSAA by Nate Taylor, kept building meet after meet.
"I was very pleased. They kept getting better and better as the season went along," Tennant said.
Erb and St. Joe's Christine Annett, in novice girls, had top 10 runs, but missed qualifying. Same for Tennant's daughter, Mary, running for London CCH. Annett, a Southwold elementary grad, finished in the top 10 in each of her races this season.
In the para race, St. Joe's Rams' Diego Alban-Gasca and Gabriel Dala, advance to OFSAA.
* = one of five OFSAA individual qualifiers for the division
Midget (4000 metres) 1. Quinten Marsh-Lansard (London Monseigneur-Bruyere) 14:41* 2. Justin Lamb (London Mother Teresa) 14:44* 3. Ian McAllister (London Central) 14:47 4. Ezra Bender (St. Marys DCVI) 14:59* 5. Bryan Darou (Listowel) 15:00* 6. Christian DeJong (Clinton St. Anne's) 15:00 7. Will Mantel (St. Joe's)15:03* 8. Seth Sommerfreund (London Central) 15:08 9. Myles Nazarewicz (London Central) 15:18 10. Walker Teal (St. Anne's) 15:20
Team 1. London Central 47 2. Clinton St. Anne's 54
Junior (5000 metres) 1. Heather McAllister (London Central) 17:08 2. Aiden Coles (St. Joe's) 17:16 3. Tristan Coles (St. Joe's) 17:22 4. Brent Hagerty (St. Joe's) 17:23 5. Mason Basson (Parkside) 17:41* 6. Max Morton (London Banting) 17:43 7. Tyler Hinsperger (Listowel) 17:50* 8. Harrison Belanger (St. Joe's) 17:55 9. Aiden Holder (St. Joe's) 18:02 10. Saleh Kashindi (Montcalm) 18:04* 11. Vincent Moore (Parkside) 18:08*
Team 1. St. Joe's 17 2. London Central 79
Senior (6000 metres) 1. Mathew Mason (London Laurier) 19:06* 2. Zachary McPhee (Stratford St. Mike's) 19:40* 3. Mark Royce (London Central) 19:50 4. Ethan Aarts (St. Marys DCVI) 20:0* 5. Steven Schraa (Wingham Madill) 20:08* 6. Bernardo Passos (London Mother Teresa) 20:18* 7. Justin Sanders (London Aquinas) 20:35 8. John Wang (London Central) 20:42 9. Juan Sebastian Gomez Gale (London CCH) 20:48 10. Connor Erb (Dorchester) 20:51
Team 1. London Central 64 2. London Aquinas 83
Midget (4000 metres) 1. Paige Marchant (London CCH) 15:59* 2. Lorelai Phinnemore (Arva Medway) 16:00* 3. Sydney Murdock (London Oakridge) 16:05* 4. Hannah McIntyre (Dorchester) 16:23 5. Emma Pais (London Aquinas) 16:35 6. Claire Henne (London Banting) 16:39* 7. Rianna Forthuber (Stratford St. Mike's) 16:50* 8. Julia Sheculski (London Lucas) 16:54 9. Christine Annett (St. Joseph's) 16:55 10. Reilly Flesher (Monseigneur-Bruyere) 17:07
Team 1. Dorchester 61 2. London Aquinas 101
Junior (5000 metres) 1. Laine Young (Stratford St. Mike's) 20:21* 2. Cerena Aitken-Guignard (St. Joe's) 20:49* 3. Maya Robinson (Clinton St. Anne's) 20:51 4. Hailee Masse (St. Anne's) 21:15 5. Rebecca Christensen (London Central) 21:19 6. Lyric Siebert (St. Anne's) 21:25 7. Laine Barnfield (London Central) 21:34 8. Bronwyn Garniss (Wingham Madill) 21:38* 9. Kayla Vitols (London Central) 21:45 10. Suraya Byam (London Mother Teresa)22:49* 11. Tia Nagle (Mother Teresa) 21:52*
Team 1. Clinton St. Anne's 29 2. London Central 35
Senior (6000 metres) 1. Abigail Kraayenbink (Wingham Madill) 22:29* 2. Elysse Fleming (London Central) 23:17 3. Clarissa Sladek (Arva Medway) 23:23* 4. Hallee Knelsen (East Elgin) 23:46* 5. Jalen Marcil (London Central) 24:07 6. Victoria Lamb (London Aquinas) 24:19* 7. Brooke Lawlor (London Oakridge) 24:23* 8. Hazel Taylor (St. Marys DCVI) 24:32 9. Mary Tennant (London CCH) 24:53 10. Arub Khan (London Laurier) 25:21
Team 1. London Central 51 2. St. Marys DCVI 75
Para 1. Chris Bright (Woodstock CASS) 15:42 2. Diego Alban-Gasca (St. Joe's) 16:44 3. Jack Braun (London Laurier) 4. Kyra Burt (Laurier) 18:44 5. Zoe Chen (London Westminster) 18:57 6. Gabriel Dala (St. Joe's) 19:24 8. Nader Shoukri (London Bessette) 21:47