BROCKVILLE – The Seaway District High School intermediate cross country team of 23 runners finished a very rewarding season at Memorial Park in Brockville on Wednesday, October 30, in the first running of the Upper Canada Cup Cross Country Championship.
According to a school board press release: The event brought together 1,270 junior and intermediate athletes from schools across the Upper Canada District School Board.
The winning team in the Intermediate category was the cross country powerhouse Thousands Islands Secondary School (TISS) of Brockville, while Queen Elizabeth Public School of Perth took the junior category.
Finishing in second spot overall in the intermediate division was the Seaway Team, which, along with TISS were the only two schools to score points in all four divisions, grade 7 boys and girls and grade 8 boys and girls.
“Finishing second to a school who has twice as many students as us and beating all other schools big or small was a result of hard work from our athletes and the philosophy of team first-individual second,” said Seaway coach Robin Gibbs. “I am extremely pleased with the performance of this team at the championship meet as well as all the meets this season.”
“Despite our small team in numbers, we were able to compete with any school out there,” added Gibbs.
In the media release, meet convener Randy Givogue said the event was organized to provide our students with an additional athletic opportunity at a time when issues of childhood obesity and wellness are concerns in our society. The high school teacher said that in his youth he did not have access to high-quality athletic events such as the Upper Canada Cup, and he knows how beneficial they can be for students.
“When you have an end goal of creating student wellness, hosting a first-class meet like this snowballs into success for students because they are training in the weeks leading up to it,” said Givogue. “There is no sport as good for your heart and lungs as running.”
The awards ceremonies were presided over by former NCAA All-American track star Matt Leeder, a graduate of TISS.
Individual champions at the event were: Mason Gavin, grade 8 boys, TISS; Lilly Meek, grade 8 girls Athens District H.S.; Claire Cushing, grade 7 girls, TISS; Dylan Butcher, grade 7 boys, Brockville Collegiate.
The Seaway High team had some big results with the Grade 8 boys leading the way for a second place finish overall. They were led by Grant Wells with a sixth and David Swerdfeger with a ninth. Adding their points for the second place finish were Noah Pederson, Devin Dumoulin, Kurt Cutler and Hunter Murphy.
The Grade 8 girls posted a third place finish overall. The team consisted of Abigail Jordan, who led the girls with an eighth place finish, and included Katie Buter, Grace Brooks, Sydney Piquette, Maiah Horne and Julenea Barnhartd.
At the Grade 7 level, the boys team of Trystan Pos, Aaron Tibben, Owen Orendi, Ryan Wiltshire and Colin Minish finished fourth overall. Tibben crossed the finish line in fourth, and Minish added a 10th place finish.
At the grade 7 level, the girls team of Keira Cameron, Kristin Van Hoof, Rebecca Ferguson, Sarah Backes, Cameryn Broad and Ashley Hanna finished sixth overall. Cameron crossed the finish line in seventh spot.