D4/10 runners slog through mud for OFSAA cross-country berths

Rob Massey/Guelph Sports Journal

WATERLOO — The strength of the District 4/10 high schools cross-country class of 2016 was on display on a damp and cold Thursday at the CWOSSA championship meet at Bechtel Park.

D4/10 runners navigated the muddy, slippery course to qualify teams and individual athletes for the provincial OFSAA championship meet in all categories except senior girls.

The top two teams and the top five individual runners not on those two teams in each category qualified for the provincial meet.

St. James and Centre Wellington qualified its teams in the senior boys’ race and they’re to be joined at the provincial meet by race winner Braydon Clarke of Erin.

“It went great, a lot better than expected,” Clarke said. “I was feeling really good.”

The senior boys’ race was the final one on the CWOSSA card and by the time they got on the course, the portion outside the wooded area, about half the circuit, had been chewed up and made pretty greasy by the sheer number of runners who had already raced on it.

“I had a small tumble, but got up pretty quick so it wasn’t that bad,” Clarke said. “I got up fast, but it was a lot muddier than I expected. I knew it was going to be muddy, but not that muddy.

“I had huge spikes in and it didn’t really make a difference.”

Worst spot was a downhill section of about 100 yards that had a sharp right-hand turn into the wooded area. Several runners in each race found themselves sprawled in the mud and all tried to find the part of the hill with the best footing. That made it a slow process.

“We were all just basically walking around that corner,” Clarke said. “It was just a very slow, slow jog.”

For Clarke, the meet was one of the first since he was sidelined during the summer.

“I’ve been back running for three months, maybe,” he said. “Last track season didn’t go so well and over the summer I had appendicitis so I was out for a while. Everything’s good now.”

The top nine finishers in the race were all members of the Speed River Track and Field Club’s junior team.

“I didn’t think we’d have that many guys from our club up there,” Clarke said. “It was a nice surprise.”

Members of the St. James team were Callum MacGregor, Gavin Hughes, Cole Hannam, Mikey Townsend and Morgan Sullivan while the Centre Wellington team consisted of Eric Morris, Jake Cousineau, Tyler Young, Matthew Hasson and Reuben Dolderman.

Madeleine Ghazarian of Preston and twin sister Sevanne Ghazarian of Cambridge St. Benedict were one-two in the senior girls’ race. St. Benedict won the team title while Kitchener Resurrection also qualified a team for the OFSAA meet.

St. James also qualified a team for the provincial meet in junior boys. Luke Cabral, Ethan Bush, Anthony Cuzen, Hayden Legrand, Oliver Aramini and Sidney Armstrong were members of the team.

While Scott Arndt of Waterloo CI was the individual winner, Brock McKenzie of Lourdes was a close second to also qualify for OFSAA. Kitchener St. Mary’s won the team title.

Tiana Lostracco of St. James ran to the victory in the junior girls’ class and that helped her team win the team title. Other members of the squad were Ianna Krudwig, Agatha Godlewski, Darcy Steward, Sidney Rogers and Taite Sinkeldam.

Centre Wellington’s team of Avery Dolderman, Claire Campbell, Noelle Morris, Clover Stempski-Kelly and Sara Chauvin placed second.

Centennial’s Amber Champagne was fifth overall to gain a berth at the OFSAA meet.

The Lourdes team of Luke Creighton, Owen Duffy, Lucas Bernhard and Liam Smith won the midget boys’ team title.

Ross was second in the midget girls’ team standings with the squad of Haley Davis, Catie Robinson, Sasha Woolcott, Rose Blower and Kadyn Kapitain.

Erin’s Dakota Poulter was third overall and Maddie Ongena of Centre Wellington was fourth.

The provincial OFSAA meet is to be held at Trinity College in Port Hope Nov. 5.

“I’m hoping for a top-10 finish,” Clarke said. “I’m going into it not knowing a lot about the competition or what I’m going up against so I don’t really know what to expect. But that’s my goal, top 10.”