Solid Performances for Georgian Bat Coyotes Track Club at AO XC Champs
Posted On: Sunday, November 11, 2018
On Sunday, November 11th, Seneca College - King City Campus hosted the Athletics Ontario Cross Country Championships and it was definitely a course to remember. In fact, it was one of the toughest courses our team has been exposed to over the last 8 years. It was very hilly, extremely technical, with endless twists and turns, a plethora of tree roots to maneuver around, 0'C temps, a chilling breeze and MUD! An additional challenge with the width of the trails made life interesting. A few spots allowed runners to spread out 3-4 across, while other sections narrowed to single lines of passage, making passing impossible....Oh....and even more MUD!
Athletes were slipping and sliding on almost every turn and, if that wasn't enough, on the larger 3km loop the athletes were invited to climb one of the steepest 200m hills around, the likes of which most had never experienced before, with walking at the top 30m was almost as fast as running. Race times were not important in this competition. It was more about survival.
The Coyotes sent 11 members to conquer the challenging course. Although many of our team placed further back in the pack this time, the future looks exciting as most of our runners were at the bottom of their 2 year age-group. So next year the Coyotes will boast even stronger results as most will then be at the top of their age group. That being said, all 11 posted very solid race performances, led by Hailey Abbott and Ethan Pentland.
The first race of the day was the Masters 5km race. To qualify as a "Master", you need to be 30 years and older with all men and women competing in the same race. The Masters sent 150 athletes to the starting line, but only 136 completed the course as some dropped out due to twisted ankles and injuries from falls. Coyote head coach Kevin Hooper crossed the line in 65th spot and 7th overall in his 55-59 y.o. age group in a time of 23:16. At this time of the day, the course was a combination of half-frozen and crusty surfaces along with lots of mud.
Later in the day the course was very chewed up to a constant onslaught of mud. Our lone Bantam Girl [grade 7-8], Chantel Abbott [Gr.7] of Collingwood had an exceptional race. Her time of 9:59 over the 2km loop gave her 33rd spot of 96 competitors. Our "Thornbury Duo", Devlin Gillis and Rohan Egan, both grade 8, also had very strong races. Devlin's time of 9:44 gave him 34th spot and Rohan, not far behind, finished in 38th spot with a time of 9:49, against 61 athletes.
Our Midget Girls [Grade 9-10] stepped up next in the 4km race. Hailey Abbott [Gr.9] who placed 6th at OFSAA last Saturday, led the team with her 24th finish in 19:31. Leah Ray [Gr.9] also from Collingwood, lead the pack at the beginning of the race, but dropped to 45th spot with a solid time of 20:11. Madi Calder [Gr.9] from Collingwood came across the line in 20:54. Madi got a terrible start and got squeezed to the very back of the pack. She then fought her way back to 64th spot These 3 girls won the Team bronze last weekend at OFSAA. Zoey Killeen [Gr.9] of Meaford fell part way through the race, twisting her knee, but fought through the discomfort to take 77th spot in 21:17 against a field of 109 girls. Their team also placed a solid 9th of 15 teams, which is exciting as all 4 girls will be in the same age-group next year.
Ethan Pentland [Gr. 10] had our best performance of the day in the Midget Boys [Gr. 9-10] 4km race. He had a great start and was up with the lead pack for the first lap, and then dropped a few spots to capture 13th spot in time of 16:38. He missed 12th spot by the with of a nose-hair.
Hannah Knight [Gr. 11] of Meaford was our lone member of the Youth Girls [Grade 11-12] 5km race. Although not one of her better races, she had a solid performance, climbed the "beast" of a hill without walking, and crossed the line in 71st spot with a time of 26:36.
Spencer Book [Gr.11], also of Meaford, finished our day in the Youth Boys [Grade 11-12] 6km race. He had a great start as well to get out of trouble at the beginning of the race and had to climb the "beast" twice. His amazing finishing sprint over the last 250m gave him 48th spot, stopping the clock in 22:30. He also just missed 47th spot by the width of a nose-hair.
The Coyotes have one more race in their Fall agenda. Hailey, Ethan and Spencer will be competing at the Canadian Cross Country Championships in Kingston on Saturday, November 24th. Congrats to ALL our Coyotes who competed. You all made your Team very proud.
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