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Ottawa Lions U18 girls claim 2nd hometown victory in a row at XC nationals

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By Dan Plouffe

The Ottawa Lions Track-and-Field Club’s under-18 girls’ team repeated as hometown national champions Saturday afternoon at Terry Fox Athletic Facility as over 1,000 runners praised the optimal late-November weather for the 2022 Canadian Cross-Country Running Championships.

Amelia Van Brabant (18th place), Jocelyn Giannotti (22nd), Louise Stonham (46th) and Quinn Coughlin (50th) were the scoring runners for the Lions’ giant 19-runner U18 girls’ team, which won by 40 points over South Simcoe Dufferin.

“I’m so proud of my team and I’m so happy that we won again. We wanted to defend that title,” underlined Van Brabant, who finished the 4 km course in 16 minutes, 1 second. “This team just works together so well. We have great team camaraderie.”

Van Brabant battled several injuries this season, and she blacked out from heatstroke before the end of the OFSAA high school provincial championships race, requiring bloodwork earlier this week to ensure she could run at nationals.

“I wanted to end on a high note and I wanted to end on a positive thing to remember the season by,” recounted Van Brabant, who also earned a silver medal in the branch competition with Team Ontario. “Being two-time national champs with this team, I’m really happy about that.”

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Ontario runners Gabby Jones of Sarnia and Erik Unger of Selwyn won the U18 girls’ and boys’ races.

Ontario’s Connor Black of London and Julie-Anne Staehli were the open men’s and women’s 10 km race winners, while University of British Columbia students Kiana Gibson (11th) and Katie Newlove (49th) of Ottawa were part of the open women’s club-champion Vancouver Thunderbirds team.

Etobicoke’s Roman Mironov won the U20 men’s race, while New Brunswick’s Erin Vringer earned three gold medals for individual, club and provincial branch titles in the U20 women’s event. Glebe Collegiate Institute grad Ivy Bialowas (17th) also joined in those celebrations with the St. John Reds and New Brunswick branch.

Masters and community races were also held to kick off the day.

Read more detailed coverage: Ottawa runners Van Brabant & Bialowas earn golden finish to trying XC seasons

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