Contrasting senior races highlight cross-country championships

GUELPH – The senior races at the District 4/10 high school cross-country championships Thursday at Centennial Park were a bit of a tale of two races.

For Haley Davis of the Ross Royals, the senior girls’ race was a dominant run in the park as she kept up her pace throughout the six-kilometre race to win by more than a minute and a half.

“I don’t usually run with a watch so I just go by feel, but I think that was one was pretty good,” she said. “Usually during the middle is when I kind of get a little slower. I find that harder, but I think that one was pretty even.”

For Adam Schmidt of the Guelph CVI Green Gaels, the senior boys’ race started as a planned run with his Speed River Track and Field Club mates and ended in victory.

“The front six guys, I run Speed River with them. We knew it was a tough course because we’ve run a couple of workouts here,” Schmidt said. “We decided the first couple of laps we’d just tempo it out and feel out the course and feel how it’s going. It’s pretty tough conditions today. It’s cold and we were all feeling that a little bit.

“I knew those boys were definitely going to take the first two laps a little bit easier and I found myself in the lead about 2,500 to 3k in and I decided to pick it up and see who would come with me. Luke Cabral from St. James, a great runner and a great guy, too, he hung with me for a while and the last lap, we kind of decided on the first lap that that was when we’d start racing. I thought that as I was ahead I may as well open up a little bit of a lead to feel a little bit more comfortable.”

Davis dominated the senior girls’ race, finishing with a time of 22 minutes and 40 seconds to finish a minute and 41 seconds ahead of runner-up Sarah-Rose Sullivan of the Orangeville Bears.

Running alone throughout a race can be difficult, but it didn’t slow Davis down on her way to the senior girls’ race.

“It’s hard in a way because you don’t have anyone to keep up your same pace, but it’s kind of nice because you don’t feel the pressure of anyone on you,” she said. “But it’s nice to run by yourself.”

A first-year senior who’s been a champion in both the junior and midget levels, Davis isn’t sure what this year’s races might bring.

“This is only our third race so it’s pretty hard to tell,” she said. “The first two races were pretty big. It’s going OK, but I didn’t know what to expect because I’m only in Grade 11 going into the senior category. I’m pretty happy with the way it’s going.”

Schmidt won the senior boys’ race with a time of 19:35 while Jackson Bull of Orangeville was second at 19:53 and Cabral third at 20:01.

“It’s been going really well,” Schmidt said of his season. “I had kind of a breakthrough year last year. I joined Speed River in January of Grade 11 (he’s in 12-plus now) so I’ve only been developing for kind of a year and a half. I had a big track season, ran a 20-second PB in the 800, so I was happy with that and I came into the cross-country season feeling pretty strong and feeling pretty good running with some of the top guys in Speed River which I never would have imagined doing.”

While the runners are about a month and a half into cross-country season, that transition from the track season can be a tough one for some.

“I find it pretty easy,” Schmidt said. “Some of the mentality is different, but our Speed River coach Jeff Haller does an absolutely fantastic job at giving us enough down time, making sure that we’re ready for it and easing us into it. A lot of the credit goes to him for making the transition as easy as it can be.”

Next on the schedule is the CWOSSA championship meet set for Oct. 25 at Waterloo’s Bechtel Park while the provincial championship OFSAA meet is to be held Nov. 3 at the Christie Lake Conservation Area in Dundas.

“I know that CWOSSA and OFSAA there’s so much more competition,” Davis said. “I don’t really know. It’s kind of like a whole new ball game so I’m just going in with an open mind.”

Davis was third at OFSAA in the junior level last year and won in the midget level the year before.

“I know there are so many goods girls at OFSAA so I don’t really know how I’ll do,” Davis said. “Maybe top 50, I’m hoping.”

“The big goal is making OFSAA so, obviously, that is the big race next week,” Schmidt said.

At the CWOSSA meet, each category advances its top two teams and top five individuals who are not members of those teams to the OFSAA championship meet.

The D4/10 team competition at Thursday’s championship meet was hotly-contested with no school winning more than one team title.

In the end, the Centennial Spartans and Lourdes Crusaders tied for the overall team title with each amassing 24 points. GCVI was third at 16 and Orangeville and Ross tied for fourth at 15. St. James was sixth at 11.

Individual team titles were won by Centennial (midget girls), Orangeville (midget boys), Emmanuel Christian Eagles (junior girls), GCVI (junior boys), Ross (senior girls) and Lourdes (senior boys).

Other individual champions were Tennessee Tremain of GCVI in junior boys in 17:00, Naomi Meerstra of Emmanuel Christian in 20:09 in junior girls, Jack Gillies of Orangeville in 14:00 in midget boys and Katya VanderBerg of Centennial in 15:22 in midget girls.

While the senior races were six kilometres in length, the juniors were five kilometres and the midgets were four kilometres.

  • Guelph Sports Journal