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X-Country Festival begins season

 Rams capture titles at first X-C meet


   Win novice girls and junior boys' team titles as 2022 harrier season begins



  September 24, 2022


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By Rob J. Ross

DORCHESTER, Ont. - Abi Faris had an impressive debut in high school cross country (X-C).

The Grade nine student finished second in the Novice girls' race and led the St. Joseph's Rams to the team title, at the Dorchester X-Country Festival, behind the Flight Exec Centre.

Faris completed the three-kilometre course in 13 minutes and 22 seconds, edging Catherine Robinson, of London Laurier, at the finish line.

"I wasn't sure how it was going to go. Last year I didn't even have a race because of COVID," said Faris, who graduated from Mitchell Hepburn elementary in June. "It was the first cross country race that I've done in three years."

Faris passed three runners over the final 500 metres.

"The first five minutes my legs felt they were going to give out but after I got a few minutes more in, I felt fine," said Faris. "Once we did the first loop, I think 2K, there was a group ahead of me and then it kind of split up. I was in fourth then. In the last bit, I passed for third and then at the end, I sprinted in and caught the second girl."

Faris and her novice girls teammates have potential to make an OFSAA appearance.

"Maybe. That's the hope," said Faris.

St. Joe's has a successful history of teams competign at the high school provincial meet, including the 2019 junior boys, who won the team title.

The Rams' team of Faris, Sadie Dowswell (16th), Alex Fangeat (17th) and Claire Caslick (30th), won the team title, by more than 30 points.

Ella Neil, of Woodstock Huron Park, won the race in 13 minutes flat.

"I felt it went really well. I'm happy to win because who doesn't like winning," said Neil. "When I see people getting closer, I run faster. Up hills, take shorter steps and go quick at the end. I like being out running. It's fun."

Noah Bakker and Fowler Little, placed eighth and ninth, respectively, leading the Rams' junior boys to first place. Ty Emre was 17th, followed by JJ Ostojic, 28th and Lucca Bianchi, 30th.

    Complete meet results

St. Joe's Christine Annett, was the top senior girl from Elgin County, finishing the five kilometre course in ninth, in a time of 22:14.

"It was a lot of fun. There's a lot of St. Joe's people out cheering everyone on. That's the best thing about it," Annett said. "Mrs Barry's training got me in the top 10. Every day after school with her. It's hard but it's fun."

Similar to a majority of meets over the years, St. Joe's had highest amount of runners at the meet.

Dorchester's Tegan Ceccanese finished fifth in the senior girls' race, in 21:44.

Paige Marcant, of London CCH, was the only senior girl to finish under 20 minutes, crossing the line in 19:32.

St. Joe's Alban Diego was second in the para race, behind winner London South's Jelani Oyomo,

Dorchester, the host school, produced four top 10 results, including Ceccanese.

Kirk Hallman was second in the Novice boys' three kilometre race. Ryan Johnson finished fourth and Fernando Medina, seventh, in the junior boys' four kilometre race.

Parkside Stampeder Andrew Monteith placed eighth, in senior boys.

Central Elgin Titan Brody Mann was 10th, in junior boys.

Other race winners were Ian McAllister, London Central, senior boys; Kevin Chen; London Central, junior boys; Haley Haskett, Arva Medway, junior girls; Jacob Jansen, London Aquinas, novice boys.

Dorchester Festival begins the XC season, that includes a meet at the Springwater Conservation Area, October 13.

The Thames Valley Regional Athletics (TVRA) Tri-County championships are at Strathroy, October 20, followed by Western Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association (WOSSAA), at Springbank Park, in London, Oct. 27. Tri-County is schools from Oxford, Elgin and Middlesex counties.

OFSAA, the high school provincial championships, is at the Dagmar Ski Resort, near Oshawa, November 5.



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