Midtown schools ready to hit the ground running

Local teams set sights on OFSAA in cross country

Midtown schools have always had a competitive edge when it comes to cross country. They train hard on the unforgiving concrete of city sidewalks, on the paved pads of parks and reservoirs, and on the soft fields of their schools or in nearby ravines.

Heading into OFSAA’s big meet on Nov. 1 in Waterloo, the Town Crier chatted with some of the city’s top schools representing midtown. Before that big date, the CISAA championships will take place Oct. 21 at Trinity College School in Port Hope, and the TDSSAA city championships will be held at Centennial Park, Oct. 22.

On top of our featured schools, we took a look at others who experienced success and will strive for more.

Branksome Hall

Coach: Kathleen Duguay

Practice route: Mount Pleasant ravine and area surrounding the school

Last year: Grace Keyworth (45th, Midget Girls)

Who to watch this year: Maggie Keyworth and Kate Macmillan

The buzz: “Of course we love them to have success at the meets, and love it when they get the opportunity to compete at OFSAA because it adds so much more perspective to the competition. The big thing about cross country running is it sets them up for life with an enthusiasm for running, fitness and personal wellness. We have a very large program in our junior school and middle school. We’ve got a lot of little feet hitting the ground.” — Nanci Smith, head of phys ed at Branksome

Northern SS

Coaches: Michael Chapman and Jill Blake

Practice routes: Sherwood Park, Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Eglinton Park and the Bayview-Lawrence-Mount Pleasant-Roehampton block.

Last year: Junior Boys (15th), Senior Girls (16th), Midget Boys (24th), Midget Girls (29th) and Junior Girls (30th). Individual standouts: Wilson Brawn (53rd, Midget Boys); Louis Sanger (64th, Junior Boys) and Gabrielle Foss (80th, Senior Girls).

Who to watch this year: Quinn Smith, Jenni Axelson, Jennifer Thompson, Hayley King, Phoenix Tashlin Clifford, Julia Boyd, Megan Boyd, Kayleigh McKye, Louis Sanger and Julian Schwartzel.

The buzz: “The team, over-all, is very enthusiastic. We’re always enthusiastic. We tied for the Citys with Birchmount … Last year we also won the South Region for five out of six categories. It is one of largest teams in the school, believe it or not. When our team goes up on stage, it fills it.” — Chapman

Havergal College

Coaches: Ann Peel and Hilary Adamson

Practice route: Glenview Public School, Havergal campus and surrounding neighbourhood.

Last year: Caroline Lampard (4th, Junior Girls); Hailey White (15th, Midget Girls), and Caprice Herjavec (113th, Junior Girls).

Who to watch this year: Caroline Lampard (2nd at the Trinity-Harrier meet and won the Colt’s Classic); Hailey Walker.

The buzz: “We had three students at OFSAA and this year, because we still have those three and a couple more, we think we’re doing well. Our junior team is pretty strong. They won the Peter Morris Cross Country meet … We’ve got some really strong runners. Obviously, we’ve got these great students who will go to OFSAA, but I actually feel equally proud with the girls who will finish the cross country season having learned how to train and increasing their love of running.” — Peel

Bishop Strachan School

Coach: Maria Dias

Practice route: The neighbourhood surrounding BSS.

Last year: Senior Girls (37th) and Midget Girls (7th). Individual standouts: Kylee Raftis (2nd, Midget Girls); Miranda Thompson (6th, Midget Girls); Somerset Jarvis (64th, Senior Girls) and Julianna Manserra (84th, Midget Girls).

Who to watch this year: Miranda Thompson, Kylee Raftis, Julianna Manserra, Katrina Whitaker-Lee, Aleksa Gold, Nicole Posesorski, Maddy McCarthy, Alexa Farrah, Somerset Jarvis, Alexis Brody, Catherine Thompson, Katie Cardiff and Mary McNee.

The buzz: “I’m hoping that all three — midgets, juniors and seniors — make it to OFSAA this year. We have some pretty strong runners in each category that will carry us through. Our juniors are definitely the frontrunners. Every meet we’ve gone to so far they’ve won the junior category as a team.” — Dias

Forest Hill CI

Coach: Marco Li

Practice route: Eglinton-Bathurst area

Last year: Jacob Maurutto-Robinson (78th, Midget Boys)

Who to watch this year: Ian Kaufman and Thalia Desmond.

The buzz: “We have five or six runners. There are a few new kids this year that are joining the team because we didn’t have a boys’ football team this year … Our junior girls are our best chance for qualifying for Citys.” — Li

The Rest:

Leaside High School: In Midget Boys last year, Anthony Sutton and Duncan McKendrick finished 49th and 154th respectively. In Junior Girls, Sarah Kelly finished 67th.

Greenwood College School: Blair Shafto, Elizabeth Blair, Charlotte Smith, Paige Cummings and Caitlyn Kicinski earned their school a 33rd place finish in the Junior Girls category.

Marc Garneau CI: Jenna Wong finished 58th last year in Midget Girls. Ella Plante scored a 154th place finish in the Senior Girls category.

St. Clement’s School: Sarah MacDonald finished 118th in Senior Girls last year.

Lawrence Park CI: Taylor MacDonald, Erin Zhlatic, Erin Cays and Samantha Green finished 23rd as a team in the Junior Girls category at OFSAA. Keep your eyes on the Midget Girls class, as Emily Cohen, Natali Robinson, Kasha Mansour, Julia Keogh and Gabriella Christopher finished first as a team at OFSAA. Cohen and Robinson finished fourth and fifth in the individual class.

TFS: Look out for Lucia Stafford who finished seventh over-all in the Junior Girls division at OFSAA.

St. Michael’s College School: The Midget Boys last year scored a silver at OFSAA, thanks to Grant Whitmore (12th), Jake Runions (34th), Spencer Van Winters (50th), Finnian Evans (104th) and Brendan Byrne (120th). They look to please coach Paul Baker this year. Last year’s junior team performed well, grabbing fourth, thanks to Cameron Cira (38th) and Matthew Schmidt (53rd). The Senior Boys finished sixth last year.

Marshall McLuhan CSS: Jonathon Kama finished 164th in the Midget Boys class and looks to improve on that. Brandon Power led the unior class with a 66th placing and Brittaney Dos Santos got 126th in the Midget Girls division. Rasheeda Gurley was 190th.

Upper Canada College: Simon Higgins of the junior team ran a 5.85K in 23:10, earning himself 134th at OFSAA last year.

De La Salle: Atticus Lyon finished 222nd in Midget Boys. Laura Holman finished 123rd, Helen Kosc 181st and Allison Brannigan 195 in Junior Girls to garner a 29th over-all placing at OFSAA. The Midget Girls team grabbed 26th, thanks to Mara McNeil, who finished 27th among the field.

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Posted: Oct 12 2014 11:38 pm
Filed in: Sports
Edition: Toronto