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Morris, Frasson run to D4/10 senior cross-country title victories

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

FERGUS — New senior champions were crowned Wednesday as Eric Morris of Centre Wellington and Emily Frasson of Ross captured the titles at the District 4/10 high school cross-country championship meet at the Centre Wellington Sportsplex.

On a sunny day that was almost ideal for cross-country running, Morris won the senior boys’ race by just under seven seconds while Frasson ran away with the senior girls’ event, winning by almost 47 seconds.

Morris, last year’s junior champion, finished this year’s 7,000-metre senior event in a time of 22 minutes, 6.5 seconds. Nick Bannon of Centre Dufferin was the runner-up in 22:13.2 and Brayden Clarke of Erin was third in 22:22.0.

Frasson, fourth in the senior girls’ race last year, captured this year’s 5,000m race with a run of 20:31.2 while Fiona Costello of Lourdes was second in 21:18.0 and Taryn McManus of Lourdes was third in 21:47.3.

“It was kind of all over the place,” Morris said of the senior boys’ race. “It would start surging, pull back a little bit and then start surging again. It was definitely quite the interesting run.”

As a member of the Centre Wellington squad, the course was one that Morris has spent plenty of time running on. The school’s front doors are about a 10-minute walk from the finish line.

“Actually, our elementary school ran cross country here every year so I’ve been running here every year since Grade 3,” Morris said. He’s in Grade 11 now. “It’s definitely a very familiar track.”

This season Morris has placed in the top three in each of his meets.

“I feel like I’ve been running really well,” he said. “Senior’s definitely tough being in Grade 11, but I’m enjoying it.”

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For Frasson, most of her cross-country experience this high school season has been strictly at practice sessions as work commitments have kept her from all but one of the meets that the Ross squad has attended.

“This year’s been going very well,” she said. “I haven’t been able to make a few of the meets. This is my second one and this one went pretty well.”

Frasson was a little concerned prior to the race when she saw the entry list and recognized several names that had been top junior runners last year.”

“I was a little anxious about the new crowd I was going against because I knew the Grade 11s from last year were going to be competing this year so I was considering their speed,” she said. “But it was pretty good.”

A scrum half with the OFSAA champion Ross Royals girls’ team last spring, Frasson has found that her cross-country running helps her prepare for the rugby season.

“I actually did running first,” she said. “Running came first and because rugby is such a fast-paced sport, I decided that I was going to play that and scrum half, you need to be fit so cross country and rugby they go hand-in-hand together. It’s nice to have both.”

Brock McKenzie of Lourdes won the junior boys’ 6,000m race in 21:04.8 and was followed by Luke Cabral of St. James in 21:26.6 and Luke DeVries of Norwell in 22:01.6.

Tiana LoStracco of St. James took the junior girls’ 4,000m race in 14:12.5 while second went to Avery Dolderman of Centre Wellington in 14:26.3 and Claire Campbell of Centre Wellington was third in 14:57.7.

Jackson Bull of Orangeville claimed the midget boys’ 5,000m race in 19:12.9 while Luke Creighton of Lourdes was second in 19:17.6 and Ethan Bush of St. James was third in 19:25.6.

Haley Davis of Ross took the midget girls’ 3,000m race in 10:50.5. Dakota Poulter of Erin was second in 10:58.5 and Maddie Ongena of Centre Wellington was third in 11:20.0.

Lourdes captured three team titles as the Crusaders were named champions in senior girls, junior boys and midget boys. St. James won two titles as the Lions took the senior boys’ and junior girls’ titles. Ross won the midget girls’ crown.

All participants advance to next Thursday’s CWOSSA championship meet that is to be held at Waterloo’s Bechtel Park.

“I don’t know what to expect now,” Frasson said. “It’s a lot hillier and there’s a lot more competitors there so that makes it a little bit more intimidating, but I think if I maintain the same pace that I did this race, I should be OK.”

“I don’t know what to expect for CWOSSA,” Morris said. “I find going into races, you always think ‘Oh, this is how the race is going to go’ and then the race starts and it just goes crazy and just completely blows up. You never know how the race is going to go so it’s hard to say what to expect. I would really like to make OFSAA.”

At the CWOSSA meet, the top two teams and top five individuals not on those two teams in each category gain berths in the provincial OFSAA championship meet set for Nov. 5 at Port Hope.