Leaside’s Coutts twins, Sophie and Chloe, admit that they were were caught a little off guard by the OFSAA Cross Country course at Christie Lake Recreational Area in Dundas, Ont. in early November.
The two were part of a 15-team contingent that made the journey to greater Hamilton and were the highest ranked.
Sophie finished third — good for a bronze medal — with a time of 19:45.6. Chloe finished fifth with a time of 20:01.3. Teammates Arden La-Rose (who finished 47th), Elena Sloan (142nd) and Mila Stanisic (205) helped the team earn silver with a score of 197.
They did walk the course at Christie Lake beforehand, but it didn’t seem enough Chloe Coutts recalled in a mid-December phone call.
“It was an okay race. I wouldn’t say it was stellar,” she said.
The best they could do was change their game plan while in the race on Nov. 3.
“The best we could say is that we needed to be aware of what was happening in the race and adapt to those changes,” Sophie Coutts said.
Regardless of their modesty, head coach Helen Panayiotou said in a previous conversation that the twins are two of the most competitive athletes she’s had on the cross country team.
Panayiotou is there to provide the emotional and mental support for the team and picked up the mantle as coach after Dave Christiani retired. Christiani is still a factor, as he and Amanda Lampard coach the Coutts twins at Central Toronto Athletics Club.
“The girls are pretty self-motivated,” Panayiotou said. “But it’s a matter of, because they have their club coaches as well, I’m there more there to calm them down and running through their races with them mentally.”
The Coutts, however, have taken more of a leadership role within the junior girls, helping to motivate their teammates.
Additional results from OFSAA Cross Country had the midget girls team finishing ninth with individual results: Kyra Welch (34th), Lexy Rivard (40), Abigail Smith (106th) and Ella Findlater (214th). The senior girls’ finished fifth with individual results: Remy Cattell (25th), Kate Denomme (39th), Samantha MacDonald (113th), Sarah White (124th) and Rebecca Snow (172nd).
The lone boy representing Leaside in the senior boys’ category was Liam Rivard (93rd).