Collectively, the Lo-Ellen Park Knights senior boys team provided the SDSSAA highlight at the 2023 OFSAA Cross-Country Championships in Toronto last weekend, finishing fourth overall, just six points off the podium.
On an individual basis, it would come down to Megan Pineau of Lo-Ellen (34th - NG - 15:46.49) edging senior teammate Sam Rice (35th - SB - 19:47.46) for the best SDSSAA showing in the traditional age brackets, with some outstanding results of note as well for the Lasalle Lancers para team.
Teaming up with Owen Dobson (51st - 20:07.05), Nolan Kuhlberg (83rd - 20:37.57) and Shiloh Sauvé (108th - 21:00.00), Rice and the senior Knights found themselves just back of Neil McNeil High-School in Scarborough (277 vs 271 - lowest score wins), with Glebe Collegiate Institute (Ottawa - 193) and London Central Secondary School (215) leading the pack.
After claiming gold at both SDSSAA and NOSSA, Megan Pineau was not the least bit awestruck by the spectacle that is OFSAA Cross-Country, even as she participated for the very first time. Pineau would be the only SDSSAA Novice Girl to crack the top-100 in Toronto, with Adrielle Charette of Collège Notre-Dame just outside that mix (111th - 16:54.77).
The surprise of the day, from a local perspective, likely came courtesy of Lo-Ellen novice boys runner Narayan Shukla. After finishing 6th at both the city meet as well as the regional race a week later, the grade nine student was joined only by teammate Frank Nzotungwanimana in terms of novice boys who came in below the century mark, finishing 89th (14:32.27), with Nzotungwanimana twelve seconds faster.
On a northern scale, impressive results were posted by the likes of Cameron Gelinas of St Joseph Scollard Hall in North Bay (5th overall in NB - 13:05.31), as well as the Manitoulin Secondary senior tandem of Maren Kasunich (11th - 22:33.70) and Brodie Pennie (23rd - 19:26.97).
The Lasalle Lancers para team continues to impress on a provincial level.
While no school were able to enter a complete team of four in the same category of this multi-faceted division, coach Karen Passi and company were not only among the teams with three entries - they were also the one with the lowest combined score, good for first place overall, if that distinction was recognized.
Either way, Passi could not be more proud of James Butcher (bronze in ambulatory - 15th of 57 overall - 20:12.83), Dante Ricketts (5th overall - 5/31 in intellectual grouping - 16:50.70), Gabriel Lapointe (23/31 - 25:04.94) and Summer Boyer (8th/15 - 27:40.13).
Following is a listing of all SDSSAA runners who cracked the top-100:Senior Boys Division
* all noted above
Sam Rice - Owen Dobson - Nolan Kuhlberg
Senior Girls Division
Georgia Lepage (STB) - 78th - 22:33.70
Lauren Pineau (LCS) - 84th - 24:45.45
Junior Boys Division
Raphael Belzile (ESMC) - 56th - 16:25.08
Isaac Longston (LCS) - 85th - 16:46.89
Junior Girls Division
Lily Bignucolo (LOE) - 82nd - 19:46.52
Misaki Diavolitsis (LCS) - 96th - 20:06.91
Lea Maki (LOE) - 97th - 20:07.80
Novice Boys and Girls covered above