At OFSAA cross-country running championships in Sudbury Saturday
By Pat Payton
SUDBURY – Competitors certainly had to battle the elements here Saturday at the 2019 OFSAA cross-country running championships at Kivi Park.
In addition to snow on the ground, runners had to deal with chilly temperatures and a muddy, slippery course.
“It was very, very snowy,” reported Hazel Taylor, a member of the St. Marys DCVI Senior girls team. “There was a lot of snow all over the ground. It was really chilly in the morning, then it started to warm up a bit after that.
“It was also raining, and mud everywhere at the finish line. Without the weather, it would have been a pretty nice course. They weren’t great conditions today,” she added.
Taylor described the course as “fairly hilly.”
Salukis were represented by six runners. In addition to Hazel Taylor, the other members of the DCVI Senior girls team were Kennedy Finch, Lydia Taylor and Jelena Lorentz. They qualified for the All-Ontario event by finishing second as a team at WOSSAA Oct. 24 at Fanshawe Conservation Area in London. Novice boy Ezra Bender and Senior boy Ethan Aarts both finished fourth in their respective races at WOSSAA and earned spots at OFSAA as individuals.
Bender turned in the best showing for the Salukis on Saturday. He placed a strong 27th in his 4-kilometre Novice (formerly Midget) race in a time of 15 minutes, 19.45 seconds.
The Novice race winner was Erik Unger, of Adam Scott high school in Peterborough, with a time of 13:56.14. A total of 261 runners finished the morning race.
Senior races in the afternoon
The Senior races were held in the afternoon at 1:45 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., respectively.
Salukis’ Ethan Aarts finished 101st in the 6-k.m. Senior boys race with a time of 24:08.16.
Matt Mason, of Sir Wilfrid Laurier in London, won the race in a time of 21:12.54 — about three seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. In the Canadian Running Magazine, Mason said Saturday’s conditions were “some of the toughest” he has ever competed in.
Zach McPhee, of Stratford St. Michael Warriors, placed a strong 11th in 22:07.45 in a field of 263 runners. At WOSSAA, Mason and McPhee were one-two at the finish line.
The DCVI Senior girls, also running a 6 k.m. race, finished 22nd as a group out of 37 teams.
Individually, Abbey Yuhasz, of CW Resurrection in Kitchener, set the pace with a first-place finish, clocking a time of 24:25.40.
In a field of 261 runners, the top DCVI runner was Hazel Taylor. She finished 59th with a time of 27:59.48. Finch was 133rd in 29:56.01, Lydia Taylor was 160th in 30:43.44, and Lorentz 212th in 33:04.31.
Yuhasz, meanwhile, was the U-20 3,000-metre national champion this year. Both Mason and Yuhasz will race the Athletics Ontario Championships and the Athletics Canada Nationals at the end of this month.