By Pat Payton
AYLMER – Three members of the St. Marys DCVI cross-country running team have qualified for the 2018 OFSAA championships.
The All-Ontario meet is this weekend, Nov. 2-3, at Christie Lake Conservation Area near Dundas.
Ethan Aarts, Owen Wrigley and Lydia Taylor will represent DCVI after qualifying at WOSSAA here last Thursday at Springwater Conservation Area near Aylmer.
The top five individual finishers in each race and the top two teams (combined scores) qualified for OFSAA. (If a top-five finisher is a member of one of the top two teams, they don’t count as a top-five individual. Therefore, runners placing after the top-five finishers then have a chance to qualify for the All-Ontario meet).
Aarts first again
Aarts, 15, followed up his first-place finish at Huron-Perth in Clinton one week earlier with another race win at WOSSAA–topping a field of 88 runners in the 5.1 k.m. Junior boys event.
Aarts crossed the finish line in 17 minutes, 46 seconds to edge out Owen Pink, of Lord Dorchester, by just one second. Ian Young, of London Oakridge, was third in 17:56.
“We sort of ran as a group the whole race,” reported Aarts, a Grade 10 student. “It was a sprint to the finish with me and (Pink), I just got him at the end.”
Wrigley was ninth overall in 18:53, while teammates Scott Standeaven was 30th in 20:44, Adam DeNeve was 51st in 21:44 and Curtis Taylor was 57th in 22:12.
The DCVI Junior boys placed third overall as a team with 91 points, finishing behind Oakridge (first) and Lord Dorchester (second).
Aarts, meanwhile, is off to OFSAA for a second straight year. In 2017, he placed seventh overall as a Midget boy. “This year, I’d like to finish better than a top-seven,” he replied when asked what his OFSAA goal is this year.
Taylor eighth in Midget girls
In addition to Aarts and Wrigley, Lydia Taylor also qualified for OFSAA after finishing eighth overall in the Midget girls race with a time of 17:28. A total of 95 runners started the 4.2 k.m. race.
Saluki teammates Julia Cameron was 49th in 19:56 and Narissa Connolly was 58th in 20:09.
Four Clinton St. Anne’s runners, including race winner Maya Robinson, were among the top-10 finishers–easily giving the Eagles the team title.
Other DCVI results from WOSSAA are as follows.
In Midget boys, in a field of 93 runners, Kirk Boreham was 18th overall in a time of 16:12, while teammate Aaron Vernooy was 37th in 17:21. Heath McAllister, of London Central, won the 4.2 k.m. race in 14:07.
In Junior girls, Jadyn DeBoer was 24th in 23:07, while DCVI teammate Jelena Lorentz was 30th in 24:10. A total of 102 runners started the 5.1 k.m. race, which was won by Elysee Fleming, of London Central, in a time of 20:24.
In Senior girls, Salukis’ Hazel Taylor was 20th overall in a time of 27:07, while teammates Kennedy Finch was 29th in 27:47 and Lauren Cameron was 54th in 29:20. A total of 132 runners started the 6.1 k.m. race, with Clarissa Sladek of Medway claiming first in a time of 23:39.
The Senior boys race featured the biggest field of the day, 142 runners. DCVI’s Joe Hutton was 51st overall with a time of 24:00 on the 6.1 k.m. course. Teammate Mackenzie Forman was 59th in 24:20. The race winner was Evan Burke, of London South, in a fast time of 19:11.
–Two Stratford St. Mikes athletes qualified for the OFSAA cross-country championships.
Nick Houben (15:17) placed fifth in the Midget boys race, while Elizabeth Drake (24:07) was sixth in the Senior girls event.
–Warriors’ Zach McPhee had a strong Senior boys race and just missed qualifying for OFSAA, finishing seventh overall in 20:42. He is an alternate for OFSAA.
–Stratford Central’s Josh Zelek was third overall in the Senior boys race in 19:57 and also qualifies for this weekend’s All-Ontario event.
–About 300 runners will compete in each of the six races at OFSAA this Saturday.