Relay records fall as track crew readies for city championship
by Randy Pascal
When it comes to the SDSSAA Relay Meet, the Lo-Ellen Park Knights remain the class of the city.
Thankfully, the Lasalle Lancers are showing signs of challenging the south end elite.
Where just a few years back, the Lo-Ellen clan were on the verge of sweeping all 16 events in the lead-in to the city track and field championships next
week, the 2019 results were at least somewhat more evenly split.
In fact, the rest of the field combined just narrowly missed out on matching the Knights total of nine victories, with the Lancers earning five first
place ribbons and the St Charles College Cardinals collecting another two.
Still, with all three of the new records that were established on the day being recorded by the young protegees of LOE head coach Colin Ward and his
staff, it's not as though the northern track powerhouse has fallen on particularly hard times.
That tone was set early as the Lo-Ellen quartet of Dylann Mazzuchin, Nathalie Marks de Chabris, Alison Symington and Kalila Bachui shaved
almost six full seconds off the mark that has stood since 2011 in the Open Girls 4 X 800m relay, covering the distance in 10:12.31.
"That was the goal," noted Symington, the freshman of the crew, making her presence felt as a grade nine newcomer to the team. "We needed 2:34 split
times each. I think a couple of us are in the 2:20s, but we were all pretty good."
Even after enjoying a great deal of success on the elementary circuit in prior years, Symington is the first to admit that the track experience at the
home of the Knights is something pretty special.
"I came from grade seven and eight at Lo-Ellen, so we had some good training there, but Mr Ward really takes the program to the next level, especially
for mid-distance runners," she said. "He uses a lot of Track North training, and just training every day, always with a plan, so that we're really
prepared coming into the races."
Symington was back in record breaking form later in the day, joining forces with sibling Amanda Symington, Sophie Moore and Allie Bertrim
in the Midget Girls 4 X 400m event. Their clocking of 4:25.41 was enough to dethrone a 2004 Lo-Ellen squad that included the likes of Rebecca Johnston,
Natasia San Cartier and Renee Jacques.
The Lo-Ellen boys were certainly not about to be left on the sidelines when it came to rewriting the record book as Kurtis Wennerstrom, Ryan Grant,
Logan Spicer and Cooper Fontaine completed two laps of the track in 1:37.06, out-kicking the St Charles team of Liam Cousineau, Chris Innes,
Nik Liinamaa and Devon Savignac, whose time of 1:30.10 was also good enough to better the old standard of 1:39.43 (CND - 2016).
For their part, the Lancers enjoyed most of their success in the younger age brackets, sweeping both the Midget Boys and Midget Girls 4 X 100m distances,
as well as placing first in the Open Girls 4 X 200m, Midget Boys 4 X 400m and Junior Boys 4 X 400m as well.
Like Symington, Jasmine Savignac of Lasalle is experiencing the high-school competition for the very first time, the grade nine sprinter a key
cog on both of the Lancer girl victories. "There's a lot more competition at this level, I find," said Savignac, whose older brother (Devon) was recently
selected in the 9th round of the OHL draft by the North Bay Battalion.
"It's just a lot more exciting, you get more interested and stuff." While she is sure to rank among the favourites in the midget girls sprint events
later this week, Savignac does acknowledge a definite affinity for the relay alternative.
"I find with relays, you have to depend on your teammates to bring you to first place," she said. "If you're running by yourself, it's all on you,
everyone is looking at you." Following is a complete 16-event listing of all of the winning schools, those who indeed, had the eyes of the assembled crowd
on them, as they crossed the finish line first:
Open Girls 4 X 800m
Lo-Ellen Park - 10:12.31
Open Boys 4 X 800m
Lo-Ellen Park - 8:39.04
Midget Girls 4 X 100m
Lasalle Lancers - 54.71
Midget Boys 4 X 100m
Lasalle Lancers - 48.96
Junior Girls 4 X 100m
Lo-Ellen Park - 52.69
Junior Boys 4 X 100m
St Charles College - 47.40
Senior Girls 4 X 100m
St Charles College - 55.22
Senior Boys 4 X 100m
Lo-Ellen Park - 47.11
Open Girls 4 X 200m
Lasalle Lancers - 1:59.82
Open Boys 4 X 200m
Lo-Ellen Park - 1:37.06
Midget Girls 4 X 400m
Lo-Ellen Park - 4:25.41
Midget Boys 4 X 400m
Lasalle Lancers - 3:58.73
Junior Girls 4 X 400m
Lo-Ellen Park - 4:43.39
Junior Boys 4 X 400m
Lasalle Lancers - 3:54.40
Senior Girls 4 X 400m
Lo-Ellen Park - 4:27.35
Senior Boys 4 X 400m
Lo-Ellen Park - 3:43.12