The high school OFSAA Provincial Cross Country Championships were held at the University of Waterloo on Saturday, November 1st.
Temperatures dropped to freezing with cold winds and accompanied with very muddy, slippery terrain, but at least the rain stopped to give some relief to the runners.
Six members of the Meaford Coyotes Track Club representing 4 different high schools competed against the best distance high school runners in Ontario at the OFSAA competition. Each member had their race plan with a couple back up plans as they tried to utilize their strengths to the fullest. Their lane assignments were pre-determined from 1-20 and whether you were in the front line or back of the pack in the 4th row was determined on how each person placed in their qualifying race last week at the CWOSSA XC Championships in Guelph.
In the Grade 10 Junior Boys 6km race, 267 runners stepped up to the starting line. Sam Nusselder from SDSS in Port Elgin and Jake Clarke of GHSS in Flesherton represented the Coyotes. The front pack went out very quick and Sam went with them. As the race progressed, his aggressive start got the best of him and he dropped off the pace to cross in an impressive 29th place finish. Jake Clarke experienced his first OFSAA competition. He looked strong throughout the race and had a very solid 87th finish.
In the Grade 11-12 Senior Girls 5km race, grade 12 students Hannah Woodhouse of GBSS in Meaford and Jessie Nusselder of SDSS in Port Elgin were in great shape after the first few minutes of their race. Hannah was up with the lead pack with Jessie about 10 seconds off the pace. When the mud settled, Hannah captured a silver medal, only 5 seconds behind first. Jessie also had a well executed race plan as she crossed the line in 26th position of 267 girls.
Olivia Linklater from the St. Marys Mustangs placed 41st in Senior Girls
Grade 12 students Steve Nadjiwan of PSDS in Wiarton and Jared Ruest of GBSS in Meaford had their hands full against 270 grade 11-12 boys. Steve was in the 2nd row on the outside of the pack, while Jared was slotted in the worst possible position....4th row at the back on the inside rail. Steve had a good start, but Jared got swallowed up by the pack and was already 30 seconds off the pack after the first couple minutes. Nadjiwan sprinted hard to the finish to take 25th spot, while Ruest made up ground at the end of the race, winning his finishing sprint, crossing the line in 69th.
The Coyotes have one more race this Fall as 19 of our older members head to Niagara Falls on Sunday, November 16th for the Athletics Ontario Cross Country Championships. Hannah Woodhouse will have one extra competition ahead of her as she heads to Vancouver to compete at the Canadian Cross Country Championships on Saturday, November 29th. She will have to move up from the Youth division to the Junior division as she attempts to qualify for the Junior National Cross Country Team that will compete in China in late March.