On October 29, the Georgian Bay Coyotes took a sizeable team of 27 athletes to Niagara Falls to participate in this year’s Minor Track Association Cross-Country Provincial Championships. The event was held at Firemen’s Park, a park with acres of baseball diamonds and treed trails with gentle rolling terrain mixed with some uneven footing.
The team started the competition with the Peewee girls and boys race. Coyotes who participated in this race were younger siblings of athletes in the older divisions as the club does not accept runners under the age of seven, but several of these runners have been running mini workouts with the team for some fun over the past few months. Rosalie Ménard was brave enough to step to the line and participate in her very first race. She ran with a smile on her face and placed 8th. Ellis Goodman had to brave some nerves at the start line, but he pushed past this challenge and ran beautifully and strong, placing 2nd.
The next event in the day was the Mite girls 1km race. Madeline Armstrong was the top finisher for the Coyotes and she had a strong performance placing 14th, and the three Coyote girls finishing as the 4th place Mite girls’ team. The Mite boys’ team proved to be a force to be reckoned with in their race as Caleb Cleland ran a fast race from start to finish, taking 1st place, Tobin Goodman took the bronze medal in 3rd and Bennett Hustwitt close behind in 5th. Along with their teammate Ludovic Menard who placed 14th, these impressive finishes allowed their team to capture the first place Mite boys’ team title.
In the Tyke races, the team’s top female, Nyla Dubeau, finished in 8th, with the girls’ team placing fourth overall and narrowly missing out on the team medals. The Tyke boys’ team was small but mighty. Liam MacInnes-Wiley placed 12th, while his teammate Joseph Spence had the audience on their toes as he put forth an incredible finishing kick to come from behind and snatch 3rd place by 5/10 of a second.
The Coyotes had the largest number of participants in the Atom races, which were the next event on the schedule. There were seven Coyote girls showing their true colours on the start line, and they all demonstrated great determination and sportsmanship. Kate Earle was the top finisher among the Coyote Girls for this very difficult race category placing 33rd, but each of the Coyote athletes pushed hard through the finish line, running some very impressive times. The Atom boys’ race had four Coyotes racing. Bryson Cleland led the pack of orange with an excellent finish of 11th. All four boys ran solid races and, in similar fashion to the Tyke girls, captured 4th place for their team, just narrowly missing the team medals.
The final races for the Coyote runners were in the Senior age category. Isabelle Spence stepped to the line, though she was recovering from a chest cold. She found herself struggling to breathe nearing the end of the race, and a mass of Coyotes in the audience put on an amazing display of support, cheering her through the finish line. Last but not least, Emmett Leary took his place among the 48 young men crowding the start line. He was determined to get out near the front of the pack before heading into some narrow trails in the bush just 300m into the 3km race. When the runners emerged from the bush Emmett was in 2nd position and he held his place, crossing the line in 2nd, about 15 seconds ahead of the pack of boys fighting for third.
“Overall it was a great day of racing for our Georgian Bay Coyotes, in their toughest race all year, which saw more than 400 athletes come from throughout the province to compete at this highest level of competition for youth Athletics. The Coyote runners captured five individual medals and one team title. They also captured the hearts of many with their camaraderie and sportsmanship and amazing team spirit and enthusiasm. Congratulations to all who participated,” said team coaches.
The team will soon take a well-deserved break before beginning training for the indoor season. For a full list of results or for more information about the team, please visit their website www.georgianbaycoyotes.com