By Larry Moko
Competitors from the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic board converged on Milton’s Hilton Falls Wednesday and took a run at qualifying for the 2018 OFSAA cross-country championships.
Since the annual Ontario high school showcase event is being held at the Christie Conservation Area on Saturday, Nov. 3, more qualifying spots were available this year to host association schools.
Advancing were the top three teams (instead of two) in each of the boys’ and girls’ midget, junior and senior divisions. And, individually, the top seven finishers not on winning teams earned OFSAA berths (instead of five).
“It was intense,” Will Summers of the Bishop Ryan Celtics said after punching his ticket to OFSAA with a sixth-place finish in the senior boys’ 6-kilometre race.
“I trained hard and gave it all I had. This will be my first time going to OFSAA. I’m so proud of it. I can’t wait.”
Summers, a Hamilton Olympic Club member, began his cross-country participation in Grade 2. “I’ve been running my entire life,” he said. I’d like to congratulate my coaches who trained me so I could qualify for OFSAA.”
The senior boys’ category had 130 finishers, including Adam Kislinsky of the St. Thomas More Knights who also made the grade – eighth in 23:57.
In the senior girls’ event, Abbey Maillet of the St. Mary Crusaders and Meagan Stager of the Bishop Tonnos Titans placed third and fourth, respectively. Their times were 26:58 and 27:11. Ninety-nine runners finished the 6K distance.
The St. Mary senior girls’ team came third in the standings. It was also comprised of Stella Oliver, 18th, Jessica Bohm, 46th; Mitchelle Kibogy, 49th, Jessica Dekker, 84th, Natalie Murphy, 89th and Iris Wang, 95th.
Several other Crusaders turned in outstanding efforts. In addition to Maillet’s third-place showing in senior girls’, Lachlan Perigord came second in the junior boys’ 5K (19:07), Isabella Bauman placed sixth in the 5K junior girls’ category (22:26), Kiara Butcher crossed the finish line ninth in the same event (22:46), while Sage Sulentic qualified with a 10th in the midget boys’ 4K (16:16).
“Fantastic results from a school of 900 and something kids,” St. Mary coach Rob Obrovac said. “I’m proud of everybody.”
Another HWCAA team qualifier was St. Thomas More. The Knights came second in the midget girls’ 4K. Olivia Dodds led the way for the Knights with an eighth-place individual finish (18:30). She was followed by teammates Irelan Scanlon, 17th, Makenna Williamson, 31st, Adriana Bozzo, 39th, Zina Agbassi, 55th, and Jane Jowatt, 65th.
Individually in midget girls, Savannah Singh and Christina Prawak of the Cardinal Newman Cardinals took third and 10th place, respectively, (18:08 and 18:35). Olivia Lanc of the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves also qualified in ninth spot in the field of 94 (18:35).
Bishop Ryan’s two other OFSAA berths went to Serena Di Benedetto, who came seventh in junior girls’ (22:30) and Johnny Pirrera, also seventh, in midget boys (16:10).
“I’m really excited about our Para athletes,” coach Sara Sardo said of her Tonnos squad. “We have two runners who have advanced to OFSAA – the Fricano boys, Antonio and Nicholas.” They came second and fourth with times of 16:51 and 20:42.
The 3K Para race featured a field of six and was won by Ryan Sorley of the Bishop Ryan Celtics (15:54).
“It’s really nice to have OFSAA local this year,” Sardo said. “We’ve had the experience (earlier this month) of running the OFSAA course. It’s flat but it’s still challenging.”
Source: Marnie Jadon