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WOSSAA cross country 2018

 Making trails to OFSAA cross country  


   Dorchester's junior boys, midget girl Legg, St. Joseph's midget boys are heading

   to OFSAA while East Elgin Eagle Knelsen returns to the provincial meet   


     Thursday, October 25, 2018




 By Rob J. Ross 

ORWELL, ON. - The St. Joseph's Rams and Lord Dorchester Beavers continue their legacies of sending runners to OFSAA.

St. Joe's handily won the midget boys' division, while Dorchester placed second in junior boys and had Ashley Legg finish second in the midget girls' race, at the Western Ontario (WOSSAA) cross country championship, at Springwater Conservation Area.

The top two teams at WOSSAA in each of the six divisions and the fastest five individuals not on those top two teams, advance to the OFSAA championship, November 3rd, at the Christie Lake Conservation Area, near Dundas.

Elgin Eagle junior Hallee Knelsen returns to OFSAA, following a third place finish in the junior girls' race, overcoming a calf injury that almost prevented her from starting. A year ago at OFSAA, Knelsen finished 26th in the midget girls' race.


WOSSAA top 10 / OFSAA qualifiers


St. Joe's walked away with the midget boys' title, by placing five runners in the top 17, led by Aiden Coles who finished second and Harrison Belanger, in 10th place. The Rams were over 30 points lower than runner-up Clinton St. Anne's.

"We've all worked hard throughout the season and know each other's strengths. We push each other. We all have at least one person to run with throughout the race," said Belanger. "It's nice to be able to go (to OFSAA). I wanted to go since grade seven. It feels good to finally be able to compete in the province."

Aiden came into WOSSAA aiming to challenge for first place, but knowing his chief rival would be London Central's Heath McAllister, who did win the race.

"That was my goal going into it, first or second. I was trying to stick with Heath for about a kilometre then he just started going at his own pace and I couldn't stick it," Coles said. "I feel like I ran the best I could. I ran my own race."

Coles had a slip during the mass start, while Tristan Coles had a tough fall mid race, but still finished 12th. Teammates Joel Bowden and James Hill, placed 16th and 17th respectively.

"The boys got a taste of what a frantic start of a championship race can be like and what can transpire," St. Joe's coach Annette Barry said.

Tristan was urged to continue by Belanger and Barry, who was out on the course motivating her runners.

"He passed me twice verbalizing that he was done. It was hard to determine how injured he was but he looked like he was moving well and he was right on Harrison's back," said Barry. "I told him that if he could, stay with Harrison. It was a good example of what having teammates in cross country can mean."

This is the third consecutive year St. Joe's sends a team to OFSAA. The past two seasons, the senior girls qualified and in 2016, the senior boys also advanced.

Dorchester's Owen Pink had to settled for second place, in the junior boys' race, edged at the finish line by Ethan Aarts, of St. Marys DCVI.

"I thought I could make him give up when I turned it up with about 150 metres left, but on the last 50 metres he really turned it up and got me with 10 metres left," said Pink. "He's really fast, I have to hand it to him."

In another head to head battle, London Oakridge squeezed out the team title over Dorchester's five counters, Pink, Connor Erb, who finished eighth, Aidan Currah, 11th, Joshua Smith, 12th, and Dilpreet Sandhu, 14th. Johnny Ledgeley was 15th, but will not advance, as only the top five runners go on for the team.

"The boys ran well and I was very pleased with Owen's calmness," Dorchester coach James Tennant said. "The boys ran well but tactically did not execute which might have cost them a win. Despite that they gave a great effort and I'm very proud of that group."

Erb ran at OFSAA last year, placing 76th in the midget boys' event, so the Grade 10 athlete can give

"It'll be a lot more fun this year (with teammates). I think we have a shot of medalling at OFSAA," said Erb, offering this advice.  "Relax, go out there (and) not to be too nervous. Definitely try to get out, because my mistake last year was I didn't go out too hard and get out ahead of the pack because you can get boxed in."

Legg won a head to head sprint with Hannah Cameron, of London Laurier, grabbing second spot at the finish line, three seconds behind winner Maya Robinson, from Clinton St. Anne's.

"Amazing and I'm excited. I thought I'd be making top 10, not making it to OFSAA," said Legg, but a finishing kick carried her to an OFSAA berth. "I passed many people at the end. I started around seventh place and I got up to second, over the last kilometre I'd say."

Legg credits coaches Tennant and Jen Ashby for helping turn the Northdale Central graduate in to an OFSAA bound runner.

"They want me to do well. They don't push my too hard, but they push me because they know my comfort zone. They're very supportive," Legg said, adding her WOSSAA race is likely the best run of her career.

"I was very pleased with her calmness in the early stages of the race which allowed her to have a nice kick which almost allowed her to win," said Tennant.

Four years ago, Dana Earhart, Emily Ashby, Lauren Gellner and Bethany Hiemstra, moved on to OFSAA in senior girls for Dorchester. Earhart and Ashby also went as midget and junior runners.

(Earhart was 12th, in the women's eight kilometre race, helping the Guelph Gryphons' team place second, at the OUA cross country championships, October 27th, in London.)

The Beavers had a senior boys' team at OFSAA earlier this decade featuring Patrick Deane.

Knelsen is heading back to OFSAA, not letting a recent calf injury get in her way.

"It hurt but I think I was just going on adrenaline. I really didn't want to miss my chance of going to OFSAA. I pushed through it," said Knelsen. "It was on and off. I would get a sharp pain, especially going up the inclines. I just pushed through it. It hurt but I really wanted to go on."

Fourth after one kilometre Knelsen moved up to third place and finished just three seconds behind Victoria Lamb, of London Aquinas and seven seconds back of winner Elysse Fleming, out of London Central.

For Knelsen it will be her third OFSAA experience. She won a bronze in the 800 metres and placed seventh in the 1500 metre, at OFSAA track and field this past June. 

East Elgin Eagle Nathaniel Abell, placed ninth, in the senior boys' race, three spots from qualifying, while Dorchester's Colson Erb was 11th.

St. Joseph's Ram Grace Gillet, was 14th, for the best local result, in the senior girls' race. Parkside's Madeleine Krahn was 30th.

The Rams' midget girls' team placed third, led by Cerena Aitken-Guignard who finished 13th and Ashley Bettencourt, in 17th place.

St. Joe's junior girls were fifth among 12 teams, with Arielle Aitken-Guignard placing 14th. Dorchester's Abby Downing was 18th in the race.

Parkside Stampeders Brent Hagerty and Mason Basson, finished ninth and 15th, respectively, in the midget boys' race.



    * - one of five OFSAA individual qualifiers in the division


Midget (4000 metres)
1. Heather McAllister (London Central) 14:07*
2. Aidan Coles (St. Joe's) 14:47
3. Jake Van Arenthals (Arva Medway) 14:56*
4. Tyler Hinsperger (Listowel) 14:59*
5. Nicholas Houben (Stratford St. Mike's) 15:17*
6. Max Morton (London Banting) 15:18 *
7. Saleh Kashindi (London Montcalm)15:19
8. Simon Meades (Clinton St. Anne's) 15:22
9. Brent Hagerty (Parkside) 15:27
10. Harrison Belanger (St. Joe's) 15:32
11. Tristan Coles (St. Joe's) 15:32
15. Mason Basson (Parkside) 16:07
16. Joel Bowden (St. Joe's) 16:11
17. James Hill (St. Joe's) 16:11
1. St. Joe's 39
2. Clinton St. Anne's 72
Junior (5000 metres)
1. Ethan Aarts  (St. Marys DCVI) 17:46*
2. Owen Pink (Lord Dorchester) 17:47
3. Ian Young (London Oakridge) 17:56
4. Steven Schraa (Wingham Madill) 18:12*
5. Brandon King (Exeter South Huron) 18:37*
6. Nolan Silvester (Oakridge) 18:41
7. Anthony Diaz (Oakridge) 18:43
8. Connor Erb (Lord Dorchester) 18:47
9. Owen Wrigley (St. Marys DCVI) 18:53*
10. Zachary Haygarth (Oakridge) 18:56
11. Aidan Currah (Lord Dorchester) 19:03
12. Joshua Smith (Lord Dorchester) 19:05
13. Jack Fairfield (London CCH) 19:09*
14. Dilpreet Sandhu (Lord Dorchester) 19:18
15. Jonathan Ledgeley (Lord Dorchester) 19:42
1. London Oakridge 26
2. Lord Dorchester 33
Senior (6000 metres)
1. Evan Burke (London South) 19:11*
2. Aaron Canfield (Woodstock Huron Park) 19:48*
3. Joshua Zelek (Stratford Central) 19:57*
4. Matthew Mason (London Laurier) 20:07
5. Eric Klassen (London Banting) 20:09* 
6. Tyrone Traher (South) 20:36*
7. Zach McPhee (Stratford St. Mike's) 20:42
8. Kyle Koyanagi (Laurier) 20:49
9. Nathaniel Abell (East Elgin) 20:52
10. Eric Hill (London Aquinas) 20:53
1. London Mother Teresa 75
2. London Laurier 80



Midget (4000 metres)
1. Maya Robinson (Clinton St. Anne's) 16:58
2. Ashley Legg (Lord Dorchester) 17:01*
3. Hannah Cameron (London Laurier) 17:01*
4. Lyric Siebert (St. Anne's) 17:02
5. Tia Nagle (London Mother Teresa) 17:11*
6. Kennedy McGregor (St. Anne's) 17:24
7. Rebecca Christensen (London Central) 17:26
8. Lydia Taylor (St. Marys DVCI) 17:28*
9. Hailee Masse (St. Anne's) 17:31
10. Bronwynn Garniss (Wingham Madill) 17:39*
1. Clinton St. Anne's 20
2. London Central 57
Junior (5000 metres)
1. Elysse Fleming (London Central) 20:24
2. Victoria Lamb (London Aquinas) 20:28
3. Hallee Knelsen (East Elgin) 20:31*
4. Jalen Marcil (London Central) 20:34
5. Emily Gilhury (London Banting) 21:15*
6. Mackenzie Finch (Wingham Madill) 21:22*
7. Abigail Kraayenbrink (Madill) 21:25*
8. Adie Kristoff (Aquinas) 21:44
9. Arub Khan (London Laurier) 21:52*
10. Jessica Fisher (Strathroy)22:08
1. London Central 36
2. London Aquinas 56
Senior (6000 metres)
1. Clarissa Sladek (Arva Medway) 23:39
2. Kyrstin Walleyn (Woodstock St. Mary's) 23:50* 
3. Rebecca DeKay (London Banting) 23:52*
4. Emily Hattayer (London South) 23:58*
5. Emma Young (London Oakridge) 24:00*
6. Elizabeth Drake (Stratford St. Mike's) 24:07*
7. Alison Hansen (London CCH) 24:16 
8. Hannah Tait (St. Anne's) 24:41
9. Alicia Domingues (London Mother Teresa) 25:09
10. Madelyn Bullock (Woodstock Huron Park) 25:16
11. Mary Tennant (CCH) 25:20
14. Grace Gillet (St. Joe's) 26:27
1. Arva Medway 74
2. London CCH 83
1. Austin Cornish (Woodstock CASS)
4. Diego Alban-Gasca (St. Joe's)


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