Running on a cold, wet rainy day, on a slippery, wet, hilly course with a separated shoulder maybe isn’t the way Seaway High cross country runner Grant Wells planned to finish the 2014 season, but those were the condition and finish he did.
Wells ran in the OFSAA Cross Country championship in Waterloo, Ontario on November 1st, where he placed 42nd in a race that included 251 runners from across Ontario. It was a huge accomplishment to end a hugely successful cross country season.
A grade nine student at Seaway District High School, Wells began cross country running last year when he was a grade 8 intermediate student at Seaway.
“Mr. [Robin] Gibbs needed someone for Seaway’s Grade 8 Intermediate boys team [last year], and he asked me. I never thought I would run cross-country, but I did and in my first meet in Brockville I got a seventh.”
Wells’ current high school midget coach, Lilace McIntyre explains that the Seaway’s Intermediate School team had only three boys for his age group last year. “So Mr. Gibbs dragged Grant out, and he finished better than the others who had been training.”
This past summer, Grant trained with Bob Tucker and the Brockville Legion Track and Field Club in Brockville. “They train half the season for track and half for cross-country. I went two days per week, and they really make you work. It gives you lots of exercise.”
McIntyre, who co-coaches Seaway’s X-Country team with Tracy Henderson and Sharon Last, says Grant by far led this year’s team. “We have about a dozen really committed runners, and we have some good talent. Grant was our most successful runner.”
The Seaway team did one meet per week during the Cross Country season, with Grant putting up some big finishes.
They included a win in midget boys at the St. Michael High School’s Turkey Trot in Kemptville on Thursday, October 9 and a win at the SD&G meet hosted by Holy Trinity in Cornwall on Wednesday, October 15th.
He ran to a second place finish in the Kingston Invitational, and placed sixth at EOSSAA (October 23) to qualify for the All-Ontario, 5 km OFSAA event in Waterloo, Ontario, last Saturday, November 1.
Just prior to heading to OFSAA, Wells separated his shoulder playing hockey. Despite the painful injury, he ran OFSAA and all was going really well until he slipped in some mud and fell on the injury.
“I finished it though. I figured it was better to finish than not to come in at all.”
Wells ran the difficult OFSAA course in Waterloo for a 42nd place finish with a time of 19:00.4. The course was very hilly and wet; the day was very wet and windy and it started with snow flurries in the morning.
Wells says he really enjoyed the cross country season. “It was really nice. I met runners from all areas in Eastern Ontario, and after awhile you get to know the competitors. OFSAA was a really good experience, and I hope to go there again.”
Grant runs daily and expects to continue training throughout the winter to prepare for the 2015 track and field season.
“If he continues to train, even just running on his own, we should be looking for a good track season and good results,” says MacIntyre.