After several days of sloppy, snowy and chilly weather, the race course in Bracebridge on Sunday, November 12, at the 2017 Athletics Ontario Provincial Cross Country Championships was far from perfect. The snow had melted, but left the half-frozen ground covered in hard ruts, deep mud holes, large ice chunks in frozen puddles and sloppy, muddy footing which made for a treacherous day of racing.
Despite wearing long spikes to gain some traction, athletes were slipping, sliding and falling all day long. Of the eight Meaford Coyotes who made the trek, one girl twisted her ankle twice, one boy fell onto his shoulder twice and another stepped into a deep mud puddle jarring his knee. All of our athletes managed to complete their races though. At the end of one of the races, an ambulance was called in to transport a girl from another team to the hospital for a serious injury. Overcoming such challenges is what makes cross country runners some of the toughest athletes in all the sports.
The Coyote team's top performer at the event was Hailey Abbott, a grade 8 Collingwood student. She had a great race placing 4th overall in the Bantam Girls "U14" 2km race. Hailey was only nine seconds behind the winner, only two seconds from the third place runner and won her sprint to the finish, edging out her rival by the tip of her nose. Meaford's Kara Tichbourne, a grade 7 GBCS student, was in the front pack after the first loop and then twisted her ankle twice on the second loop. She hung tough and still finished a strong 13th overall. Madison Calder, also a grade 8 Collingwood student, finished off our strong trio as she was only 16 seconds back of Tichbourne to take 21st overall.
The Coyotes' Bantam Boys "U14" dynamic due of Devlin Gillis and Rohan Egan, both grade 7 Thornbury students, ran very aggressive races and have made big improvements this season. Devlin cross the line in 34th spot and Rohan took 39th position. Rohan also ran one of his best races of the season. Sticking close to his team mate, he stopped the clock only 9 seconds behind Devlin to take 39th spot over the 2km trek.
Olivia Karn, a grade 9 student from Coldwater was fresh off her OFSAA appearance last weekend in Petawawa. At the bottom of her age group in a star-studded Midget Girls "U16" 4km race, she also ran an aggressive race but fell off the pace about 1/2 way through. She ran a much better race than last weekend and crossed the line 59th of 119 competitors.
Spencer Book, a grade 10 Meaford student, and his team mate Ethan Pentland, a grade 9 Durham student, have been great training partners all season. Both competed at OFSAA last weekend as well, where Pentland placed 9th overall. This race however Book took charge and ran his best race of the season in the Midget Boys "U16" 4km race. His wicked sprint at the start of the race and at the finish line gave him a well deserved 37th spot against 125 runners. Ethan was still feeling the affects from last weekend and didn't quite have the horse-power he usually has. He still had an impressive 48th position as he edged out his rival, also by the tip of his nose.
The Coyotes now have a well deserved rest before resuming their training as they prepare for a very exciting indoor track season.
Bantam U14 Girls 2km Race [2004-2005]
Hailey Abbott  - 4th/79 @ 8:06
Kara Tichbourne  - 13th/79 @ 8:21
Madison Calder  - 21st/79 @ 8:37
Bantam U14 Boys 2km race [2004-2005]
Devlin Gillis  - 34th/57 @ 8:21
Rohan Egan  - 39th/57 @ 8:30
Midget Girls U16 4km Race [2002-2003]
Olivia Karn  - 59th/119 @ 18:05
Midget Boys U16 4km Race [2002-2003]
Spencer Book  - 37th/125 @ 15:02
Ethan Pentland  - 48th/125 @ 15:14