Athletics High Schools

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Glebe, Nepean lead battle for titles at high school XC running championships

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HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

By Martin Cleary

At first glance, cross-country running appears to be a straightforward competition – athlete vs. athlete, athlete vs the challenging, bumpy and sometimes muddy course, athlete vs the unpredictable weather.

But there’s another aspect to the overland adventure that is underrated and it deserves equal attention – the team competition.

When the athletes run, they’re trying to finish as high as possible on the results sheet not only for themselves, but also so their team can have the fewest placement points. Race officials add up the placements of the top four runners on each team and produce the team standings. The fewer points a team scores the higher it finishes.

Come Oct. 28 at the Hornet’s Nest soccer fields in Gloucester, the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association cross-country running championships should be filled with good races visible to the eye, but maybe even better team battles carefully watched by coaches keeping tabs with paper and pen.

The big confrontation will be between Nepean and Glebe, which emerged as the grand aggregate champions following this week’s respective West Conference and East Conference championships, featuring girls’ and boys’ novice, junior and senior races.

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It’s hard to say who will have the edge, since the two conference championships were held at different locations – Walter Baker Park in Kanata for the West and Hornet’s Nest for the East.

Nepean runners appeared to be in fine form, sweeping the girls’ novice, junior and senior team titles as well as the boys’ senior category. The Knights won the girls’ aggregate team title with a maximum 30 points and collected another 10 points on the boys’ side for the best grand aggregate total of 40 points.

Merivale, the boys’ novice team winner, was second overall at 25 points and Paul Desmarais, the boys’ aggregate team champion, took third at 23. South Carleton placed fourth overall at 20 points, John McCrae was fifth at 15 and St. Mother Teresa, the boys’ junior team winner, was sixth at 11.

Glebe, a traditional powerhouse in cross-country running, added more team victories, capturing championships in girls’ junior and senior and boys’ junior and senior. In those four races, Glebe earned seven of the 12 top-three places and the Gryphons easily won each of their four team categories, placing their top four runners in the top 11.

Like Nepean, Glebe finished with 40 points in the grand aggregate standing. By winning the junior and senior team titles, the girls’ and boys’ teams collected 20 points each. The Gryphons also won the girls’ and boys’ team titles, despite not entering a squad of four runners in both the girls’ and boys’ novice races.

Colonel By, the girls’ novice team champion, was second in the grand aggregate team standings at 28 points, while Ashbury was third at 20, Lisgar was fourth at 17 and Canterbury was fifth at 13. Immaculata was the boys’ novice team winner.

Glebe runners stormed to victory in the East girls’ junior five-kilometre race, sweeping the top three places: Laurin Alexander, 21:58.62; Claire Waddington, 22:22.95; and Claire Allan, 22:47.88.

Waverley Lyons of Glebe was the girls’ novice champion over four kilometres in 17:28. Ashbury’s Kate Johnston-Zemek was runner-up in 17:43 and Canterbury’s Azzurra Agostini stopped in third at 18:11.

Despite missing the top three in the girls’ senior six-kilometre race, Glebe had its best four runners finish fourth, fifth, seventh and 11th for the team win. Gloucester’s Olivia Baggley was first in 23:48. 42, while Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s Elizabeth Vroom, placed second in 24:28.49, and Franco-Cite’s Gillian Porter was third in 26:22.15.

Oliver Waddington and Thomas Fairhead gave Glebe a close one-two boys’ senior result in their six-kilometre race with respective times of 23:14.75 and 23:16.07. Nicolas Belan of Canterbury was third in 23:20.79.

Glebe also grabbed the top two places in the boys’ junior five-kilometre race, when Derek Strachan finished first in 18:58.85 and Kiefer Melinz Dupuis secured second in 19:19.40. Third place went to Theo Krnjevic of Lisgar in 19:54.69.

Louis Riel has its best showing in the boys’ novice four-kilometre race with a first by Daniel Cova, 15:37.67, and a third by Zachary Jeggo, 16:19.14. Aleksander Meehan of Immaculata placed second in 16:00.26.

Nepean runners didn’t win any of the six West Conference races, but the Knights did earn two second-place finishes and four thirds.

Clara Hegan, the 2019 West Conference novice winner, and Karina Gruson were second and third respectively in the girls’ senior six-kilometre race in 23:54 and 26:14. Earl of March’s Amelia Van Brabant, the 2019 West Conference novice runner-up, was first in 22:09.

Ashlee Delaney of St. Francis Xavier scored a three-second victory in the girls’ junior five-kilometre race over Nepean’s Renee Hegan – 20:56 to 20:59. Ali Pascali of Nepean was a close third in 21:00.

St. Pius X runners ruled in the girls’ novice four-kilometre race as Isabella Chiumera placed first in 15:38 and teammate Ainsley McDonell was third in 17:05. Grace Streek of Merivale ran a solo second in 16:18.

In the boys’ junior five-kilometre race, William Sanders of St. Mother Teresa was the winner in 16:27 and was followed by Kadar Mohamud of Woodroffe in 16:51 and Liam Downes of Nepean in 17:19.

Levi Sankey of Merivale placed first in the boys’ novice race over four kilometres in 14:52. Will Adamson of Earl of March was the runner-up in 14:59 and Robin Daniels of Nepean finished third in 15:31.

Zachary Sikka of St. Paul was the boys’ senior six-kilometre champion in 21:55. John McCrae’s Nolan Legare, the 2019 West Conference novice champion, was second in 22:11, while Mattias Del Rio Reategui of St. Joseph secured third in 22:21.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 49 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at

Martin can be reached by e-mail at and on Twitter @martincleary.

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