By Martin Cleary
When it comes to high school cross-country running, Glebe Collegiate Institute has been a powerhouse over the past 14 years, securing individual, team and overall titles at the annual OFSAA championships.
Glebe girls have won five overall provincial titles, five age-group championships and one individual gold medal. On the boys’ side, the Gryphons have captured one boys’ team title and three individual victories.
Make that two boys’ team titles as the Gryphons continued their tradition of success Saturday in Etobicoke, but at a new level.
For the first time in its history, Glebe used its depth to win its first boys’ senior team title with 193 placement points (a total of the finishing places of its four runners).
Glebe also finished fourth in the boys’ aggregate standings and tied for fifth overall (boys and girls combined), while the Colonel By Cougars were fifth in the boys’ standings.
Defending boys’ senior team champion London Central held a brief lead after its first two runners crossed the finish line of the six-kilometre race, but it dropped to second at 215 points about a minute later.
The Gryphons have flirted with winning the provincial high school boys’ senior championship in the past, placing second in 2019 and third in 2014 and 2016.
“Our team was very strong this year,” Glebe cross-country/track and field coach Kirk Dillabaugh wrote in an email interview with High Achievers. “The boys have run consistently well all year and so we knew if we ran how we were capable of running, we would be in a position to challenge for the top spot.”
For the second year in a row, Ian McAllister of London Central placed first in the boys’ senior race in 18 minutes, 22 seconds. Glebe’s Saul Taler, who won the 2022 OFSAA boys’ junior title, was the Gryphons’ top runner in seventh at 18:52.88. That gave London Central a six placement point advantage.
London Central’s Alec Royce placed 28th in 19:38 and Glebe’s Russell Heins was right behind in 29th at 19:38.13. The London Central lead increased to seven points.
“London Central was our main challenge and they certainly were not going to give it to us,” Dillabaugh added. “On race day, you’ve got to earn it and we did.
“But when I saw Derek (Strachan) and Kiefer (Melinz-Dupuis) so close together ahead of London’s third man coming down the stretch, I knew at that point, the race was ours.”
Strachan was 73rd in 20:29.71 and Melinz-Dupuis took 84th in 20:37.69 and London Central’s final two runners were unable to hold their school’s early lead. Myles Nazarewicz was 89th in 20:44 and Kevin Chen finished 97th in 20:50.
The boys’ senior race also saw Daniel Cova of Louis-Riel stop in 13th place in 19:08.39.
The Colonel By Cougars earned the boys’ junior team silver medal with 250 placement points, after the five-kilometre race.
Owen Siderius paced the Cougars with a 10th-place showing in 15:16.09 and encouraged his three teammates at the finish – Austin Walker, 26th, 15:45.18; Taylor Henry, 37th, 16:01.44; and Roshan Smith, 177th, 17:57.37.
The John McCrae team of Jackson McKercher, 51st in 16:11.19; Adam Yakimuch, 70th in 16:35.55; Mateo Harris, 94th in 16:56.46; and Adam Lin, 162nd in 17:41.57, placed seventh at 377 points.
Charlie Mortimer of Hillcrest was the top National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association runner in the boys’ junior race in ninth at 15:15.20. Louis-Riel’s Evan James Rebane was 24th in 15:42.96.
In the girls’ senior division, a rebuilt Glebe team placed sixth at 419 points as Lauren Alexander led the way in 14th at 22:38.38. The other three Glebe runners were Waverley Lyons, 101st in 25:13.54; Kinsey Sutherland, 124th in 25:50.04; and Claire Waddington, 180th in 27:38.66.
“We graduated three of our four scorers from last year’s OFSAA silver medallist team and did not even have a junior girls’ team last year,” Dillabaugh added. “So, for the girls to put together a strong performance like they did and finish sixth was an incredible performance.”
A determined Grace Streek of the Peak Centre Academy charged down the finishing stretch to 12th place in 22:35.80. Jocelyn Giannotti of Holy Trinity was 15th in 22:47.67 and Kate Johnston-Zemek of Ashbury took 20th in 23:05.86.
Nepean scored 419 points for ninth place in the girls’ junior five-kilometre race from its four runners – Edie Petrescue-Commene, 34th in 18:41.27; Gabrielle Forestier, 88th in 19:55.53; Tillie Pender, 118th in 20:36.00; and Olivia Voros, 179th in 21:58.95.
Kyra Lauter of Franco-Ouest was the best NCSSAA runner in 17th at 18:15.00, while Julia Van Wesenbeeck of Glebe took 21st at 18:20.57.
Colonel By’s Laila Lebel finished 12th in the girls’ novice four-kilometre test in 15:03.44 and helped her team to a 14th-place showing with 487 points.
In the boys’ novice four-kilometre run, Immaculata’s Mitchell Skelton was 23rd in 13:35.18 and sparked the Saints to a 14th-place team result at 509 points.
GEE-GEES MEN’S RUGBY WINS FIRST RSEQ TITLE
The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees men’s rugby team won its first Quebec conference championship in program history on Sunday in Montreal.
Ottawa Beavers product Glenn Roy’s penalty kick in the 80th minute pushed the Gee-Gees ahead of École de technologie supérieure at the last moment for an 18-17 victory.
Roy’s younger brother Evan scored uOttawa’s opening try of the game, while Bytown Blues product Donovan Tran scored the other, with Glenn Roy’s boot accounting for the rest, including a 50-yard penalty kick in the second half.
While not an official U Sports championship, the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship will be held from Nov. 15-19 in Langley, B.C. Ottawa is set to host the competition in 2024.
TOP-SEEDED GEE-GEES PLACE 6TH AT U SPORTS WOMEN’S RUGBY
The top-seeded University of Ottawa Gee-Gees made a quick exit from the medal side of the U Sports women’s rugby championship bracket.
The Gee-Gees lost their opening game to the eighth-seeded University of Victoria Vikes 30-17. Alysia Comtois was the Gee-Gees’ player of the game with two trys.
On the consolation side, Ottawa shut out St. Francis Xavier University X-Women 41-0, but lost the fifth-place game 39-21 to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.
Ketsia Kamba and Tylo Borsboom scored two trys apiece against St. Francis, and Comtois, Quynh-Ni Au and Ella Blyth were the try scorers against the Thunderbirds.
For the second year in a row, Kamba, a lock, was named to the U Sports All-Canadian first team and teammates Borsboom, a back row player, and Ngozi Mosindi, a back three player, joined her on that select squad.
CARLETON RAVENS UNDEFEATED IN BASKETBALL AT GUELPH
The Carleton University Ravens basketball program started the defence of its U Sports national men’s and women’s titles on a positive note.
The visiting Ravens men’s team trailed after the second and third quarters as well as midway into the fourth frame before holding off the University of Guelph Gryphons 89-84 in its opening OUA men’s basketball game.
Augustas Brazdeikis used a layup to tie the game 74-74 and Wazir Latiff connected for the Ravens’ next two points on a pair of free throws with 4:14 remaining to give Carleton the lead for good.
Aubrey Dorey-Havens paced the Ravens with 19 points, while Marjok Okado counted 16 points and Latiff finished with 13 points.
Kali Pocrnic dropped in 22 points and added four assists and three steals as the Carleton women’s team defeated Guelph 83-66. The Ravens had three other players in double figures – Jacqueline Urban 15 points, Kyana-Jade Poulin 13 points and Zerina Duvnjak 11 points.
The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees split their two games at Guelph with the men’s team winning 86-66 and the women’s squad losing 57-49.
In the men’s game, Dragan Stajic and Brock Newton led the Gee-Gees with 18 and 17 points respectively. Arian Saumure and Emily Payne each contributed 11 points for the Gee-Gees women’s team.
ACHOL AKOT DRAWS RAVE REVIEWS IN NCAA BASKETBALL DEBUT
Ottawa’s Achol Akot posted game-highs in two categories in her NCAA women’s basketball debut with the University of Central Florida Knights on Monday night in Orlando.
The Capital Courts Academy product got the start at forward in UCF’s regular season-opening 101-63 win Bethune-Cookman. Akot pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds in 18 minutes of floor time and was also the leader with seven assists to go alongside seven points.
“I was impressed with the collective effort of the team,” coach Sytia Messer said in a UCF game story. “We had four people with double figures, and Achol [Akot], our freshman, had 14 rebounds, and eight of those were offensive.”
Akot helped CCA to its first Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association title in 2022 and overcome many personal challenges to earn an athletic scholarship to UCF.
5 REGIONAL PLAYERS EARN WORLD JUNIOR RINGETTE SILVER MEDALS
Canada settled for the silver medal at the world junior ringette championship in Calgary, after a tie and a loss to Finland in the best-of-two series.
The national team, which included five National Capital Region players, played to a 6-6 draw in the opening game, but dropped the deciding second game 8-4 to Finland, which defended its title.
Nepean Ravens’ Jalena Marelic of Ottawa earned three assists in the two games, while Maxim Moisan of Cantley, PQ., and the Gatineau Fusion and Brittany Lanouette, who plays for Rive Sud Revolution but is from Gatineau, had one assist each.
Fusion players Danika Osborne of Ottawa and Alex Violette of Gatineau also skated for the silver-medal winning Canadian team.
TRIPLE FOOTBALL CELEBRATION FOR CORNWALL WILDCATS
The Cornwall Wildcats swept three of the four titles during the National Capital Amateur Football Association championships.
The Wildcats defeated the Myers Riders 34-28 for the peewee A title, the Cumberland Panthers 30-0 in the mosquito A final and the Panthers 36-32 for the tyke A trophy.
The Panthers emerged bantam A champions with a 27-15 victory over the Nepean Eagles. In the varsity final, the Kanata Knights defeated the Bel-Air Norsemen 21-17.
GEE-GEES WOMEN, RAVENS MEN SEEDED HIGH FOR U SPORTS SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
The U Sports soccer championships are scheduled to start Thursday at Queen’s University for the women and at Cape Breton University for the men.
The OUA women’s champion University of Ottawa Gee-Gees are seeded No. 2 and will play the University of British Columbia in their opening game.
The third-seeded Carleton University Ravens, which won the OUA men’s title, will meet the Université de Montréal in its quarter-final match.
LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST
· After placing second in their pool with a 2-1 record at the OFSAA girls’ field hockey championship, Merivale Marauders lost their quarterfinal 5-0 to Holy Cross. Merivale qualified for OFSAA by winning its second straight National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association title, and the sixth in its history.
· Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe of New Zealand won all three of their round-robin tennis matches, but the seventh-seeded team lost in the semifinals 6-1, 6-7, 10-6 to Nicole Melichar-Martinez of the United States and Ellen Perez of Australia at the WTA Finals.
· The Kristy Watling rink of Winnipeg defeated Rhonda Varnes 7-5 at the Scotties berth bonspiel in Gimli, MB., to qualify for the Manitoba women’s curling championship. Ottawa’s Emily Deschênes plays second on the Watling team.
· The Canadian women’s rugby team placed second overall at the inaugural WXV world championships-style tournament in New Zealand thanks to a 29-20 victory over France in its final game Saturday. Ottawa players Alexandria Ellis, Claire Gallagher and Maddy Grant were part of the Canadian team.
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 50 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 High Achievers “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com and on Twitter @martincleary.
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