By Spencer Douglas
After successful cross-country regionals for both the Glebe Gryphons and Lisgar Lords, competitors from Ottawa’s two downtown high schools kept the success running during the provincial championships in Petawawa on Nov. 3.
Glebe and Lisgar had some impressive individual and team results at regionals. The Gryphons won their 8th straight overall aggregate crown, with team title victories in four out of the six races.
A team title is defined as the best average time for all runners who competed. Glebe had 17 individual athletes who placed in the top 10 in their division. Lisgar’s junior girls came first in regionals with the fastest time in the Ottawa area. The junior girls had two top ten finishes, including Emma Betty (2nd) and Rhea Grace (9th). The junior girls division included 103 athletes from across the Ottawa area.
At regionals, there were between 95 to 150 athletes competing in various categories, adding up to more than 800 runners. About 60 athletes from Ottawa regionals got the chance to compete in the provincial championships, known as OFSAA for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations.
Five girls from Lisgar competed at OFSAA and 25 came from Glebe at the Ontario finals, which drew nearly 1,600 athletes from across the province.
Glebe’s midget girls not only won at regionals, but also took home a team title at the season finalé in Petawawa.
The midget girls averaged a time of 15 minutes 57 seconds per racer in the four-kilometre event, with Ivy Bialowas coming 19th and Zoe Gardiner 21st. The average team time was tops in the province for the midget girl’s division.
The Glebe’s cross-country coach, Kirk Dillabaugh, said he wasn’t sure what to expect from Gardiner.
“Zoey had a bit of an up and down season,” said Dillabaugh. “In her first race, she was our top runner. Then the next few races she was about 30 seconds back. Ending up in 21st is a great effort and a great run from her.”
Glebe’s midget boys finished second in the team category. The boys averaged a time of 14:13 per racer in the four-kilometres race.
Dillabaugh said he was pleased with both of the midget teams.
“I knew they had potential to come top three, but when you come to a championship like this you never know,” said Dillabaugh. “They performed very, very well. We had goals set and we achieved those goals.”
In the junior men’s division, Glebe’s Adam Sanger finished second in regionals and then an outstanding 8th overall at OFSAA.
“It was an excellent performance for him — he had to work hard,” said Dillabaugh. “He has improved so much from last year.”
Overall, Dilllabaugh said, he was very happy with all of his runners. “We always go in there with high expectations,” he said. “It is great to see when everyone performs so well.”
Lisgar’s junior girls placed first as a team in regionals and 11th at OFSSA, with two athletes finishing in the top 100: Betty and Grace.
After Betty came second in the recent regional championship, coach Darius Arjang said he had high expectations for the runner, and those expectations were exceeded at OFSAA.
“We were hoping for a top 10 finish for Betty and she finished 4th, which is spectacular,” said Arjang.
Betty might have had an even better result if it weren’t for an unexpected ending. She was in 2nd place with about 150 metres left in the race when she tripped and fell, losing some ground and ultimately finishing fourth.
“I am really happy with how the race went, both in terms of how I did individually and how we did as a team,” said Betty, “particularly because we improved on our results from last year.”
Grace placed 91st.
“I was proud of everyone’s performance at OFSAA,” said Grace, a two-time OFSSA competitor. “It was great to be able to go again.”
Overall, Arjang said he was very happy with his junior girls.
“To have two students finish in the top 100 in OFSSA is pretty good, and everybody else doing the best that they could is fantastic for me,” said Arjang.