It has been a very interesting year with COVID, and the autumn high school cross country season was no exception. With the Bluewater District High School Cross Country Championships being held in its traditional location in Hepworth at the Sawmills on Thursday, October 21, athletes then were able to compete at the CWOSSA XC Champs.
Locations were considered to host the annual event, from Kincardine to Hanover, but various road blocks prevented this from happening. COVID also played a role in this, which several school boards actually pulling out of the fall racing season. Typically there would be over 200 athletes competing in each of the races, but this year in the CWOSSA region, only 20-40 athletes were slated to race in each of the six events. Being a smaller race site, this allowed the Sawmills in Hepworth to host CWOSSA this year. The Sawmills race course is very challenging with the terrain fluctuating from relatively flat to rolling hills to sharp inclines that make every inch of your body cringe.
On Thursday, October 28, under pleasant, dry and sunny weather, athletes gathered for a chance to advance to OFSAA, the high school provincial championships. The top five individual athletes and the top two teams in each event advance to OFSAA, which will be held in Lakefield, near Peterborough, on Saturday, November 6.
Members of the Georgian Bay Coyotes, representing their respective high schools of either Georgian Bay Community School in Meaford or St. Mary’s High School in Owen Sound, laced up their shoes and put their hard training to the test.
In the Grade 9 Novice Girls 4km race, Lindy Kingston, representing St. Mary’s High School, had a solid race, taking 12th spot amongst 35 competitor with a time of 18:53.1, which was 3:39 seconds off a very strong race winner.
The Grade 9 Novice Boys 4km race had 2 Coyotes on the start line. One of the race favourites, Ethan Mei of St. Mary’s, took the lead from the start and held it for most of the 2 lap course, but faded slightly at the end. His bronze medal performance gave him a time of 14:33.7, just 0.7 seconds from 2nd and 5 seconds shy of the leader. Ethan’s team also placed 1st. This allowed team mate and fellow Coyote team mate Wes Brown to qualify for OFSAA. Wes finished 32nd of a field of 33 with a time of 20:47.7. Former Coyote member Luke House of Owen Sound, placed 6th and added to the team’s strength. The Georgian Bay Community School boys team placed 2nd and will also advance. They had two former Coyotes, Hayden Green and Denon Taylor adding to their teams strength.
Kara Tichbourne, GBCS’s lone senior girl, laced up for the 6km race against some very talented runners. The first kilometre was a bit of ‘cat and mouse’ and then the race opened up. Kara came through the first 3km comfortably in third spot with the top two girls about 30 sec ahead. The positions held over the second lap as she cross the line in third to capture a bronze medal, with a time of 27:11.2, only 35 seconds back of 2nd spot and just over a minute back of the race leader. Kara’s performance earned her spot on the starting line at OFSSA as well.