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NCXC23: Lucky #13 for Glebe as Gryphons keep alive high school cross-country running city championship streak

By Emma Zhao

Ottawa high school cross-country running came back in full force on Oct. 26 – and the mud did too – as over 800 athletes competed in novice, junior and senior boys’ and girls’ races during the National Capital Secondary Schools Athletic Association championships at the Hornets Nest in Blackburn Hamlet.

The Glebe Gryphons were runners-up to Nepean and Immaculata in the respective girls’ and boys’ aggregate standings, but still emerged with their 13th consecutive grand aggregate city championship. Nepean, Colonel By and Earl of March all tied for second.

“I just want to thank all the schools for putting together such strong programs,” said Glebe head coach and NCSSAA XC convenor Kirk Dillabaugh. “Our sport is growing … we took a hit after the pandemic, our numbers dropped a little bit, but our numbers are growing again.”

Five of six divisions had more entries than last year at the city finals. The senior girls’ event grew the most with 40 more runners. There were 407 athletes in male categories and 401 female in total.

Grade 11 Louis-Riel student Daniel Cova posted the largest margin of victory out of the six races. Cova beat 2022 OFSAA junior boys’ champion Saul Taler to the finish line of the senior boys’ 6 km event by 22.5 seconds.

Taler led Glebe to the biggest team triumph of the day by a longshot. The Gryphons posted a near-perfect senior boys’ score with Taler placing second, Derek Strachan third, Russell Heins fourth and Kiefer Melinz Dupuis sixth to win the event by 91 placement points over Immaculata.

Glebe also won the senior girls’ event, led by individual gold medallist Lauren Alexander.

Hillcrest’s Charlie Mortimer edged 2022 OFSAA novice boys’ silver medallist Owen Siderius for the junior boys’ crown, though Siderius still celebrated a city championship with his Colonel By Cougars team.

Colonel By’s Laila Lebel experienced the reverse fate in the novice girls’ event. She won the race, but her team missed the city crown by one point behind the Nepean Knights.

Nepean also won the junior girls’ team event, while Franco-Ouest’s Kyra Lauter took the individual gold.

“They battle and they race hard, and they’re tough,” Nepean coach James White said of his champion girls, who also have a great team dynamic, he added.

Immaculata’s Mitchell Skelton topped the novice boys’ field, while Earl of March celebrated the team title.

The two schools with the lowest team score in each division (calculated by adding their top 4 runners’ placings) qualified five runners for the Nov. 4 OFSAA cross-country provincial championships in Etobicoke. The top 5 individual racers who were not already qualified as part of a team also earned OFSAA berths. will post race-by-race recaps and photo galleries of the 2023 NCSSAA XC Championships (in reverse race order, from senior boys to novice girls) each day in the lead-up to the OFSAA XC Championships on Nov. 4. See below for links!

NCXC23 Race Recaps & Photos

Laila Lebel experiences narrow race win, narrow novice girls’ team defeat in NCXC debut

Despite entering her rookie high school city championship race on Oct. 26 at the Hornets Nest, Laila Lebel’s had lots of time to get a view of what cross-country running competition is all about. The Grade 9 Colonel By Secondary School student was introduced to running at a young age. Her family instilled a love of running, and she’s already been racing for several years with the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club. READ MORE…

Earl of March edges Immaculata in close race for novice boys’ team title

Just as Amelia graduated after winning back-to-back senior girls’ city titles, a new Van Brabant arrived on the scene for the Earl of March Lions, and Luke seems ready to follow his older sister’s successful tracks. Luke Van Brabant led the Lions to a team victory with his fourth-place finish in the novice boys’ competition at the national capital high school cross-country running championships on Oct. 26. READ MORE…

2022 OFSAA silver-medallist Nepean Knights fight their way to first in junior girls’ race

They say cross-country running is an individual sport, but the city-champion Nepean Knights junior girls would certainly object and say it’s all about the team. Last year, the Knights parlayed their lineup’s strength from top to bottom into an OFSAA team silver medal in novice competition. At the city finals, Nepean entered five runners in the junior girls’ competition and all five finished in the top 20. READ MORE…

2022 OFSAA silver-medallist Colonel By wins repeat city title with new junior boys’ faces

Owen Siderius finished a few short seconds back of winner Charlie Mortimer at the national capital high school running championships on Oct. 26 at the Hornets Nest, but the sting of missing out on individual title was soothed within a few minutes as his Colonel By Cougars emerged with the junior boys’ team victory. Hillcrest’s Mortimer edged Siderius for the victory by 3.4 seconds in a time of 17:41.2. READ MORE…

Glebe’s Alexander runs for her teammates, claims senior girls’ individual & team gold

Fuelled by her Glebe Gryphons teammates, Lauren Alexander won her first individual high school cross-country running city title in her senior year, claiming the senior girls’ crown on Oct. 26 at the Hornets Nest. Alexander also won a team championship with her Gryphons by a healthy margin and her nine-second advantage over second-place finisher Jocelyn Giannotti of Holy Trinity proved to be fairly comfortable as well. READ MORE…

Cova cruises to redemption senior boys’ win, Glebe glides to towering team triumph

The final race of the day produced the biggest victories of the day at the national capital high school cross-country running championships on Oct. 26 at the Hornets Nest. The Glebe Gryphons ran away with the team title by the largest margin of victory out of all six races by a longshot, while Grade 11 Louis-Riel student Daniel Cova outlasted 2022 OFSAA junior boys’ champion Saul Taler to earn the senior boys’ crown by 22.5 seconds. READ MORE…

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