SOUTH DUNDAS – Two high school athletes from the area were among the over 1,700 competitors at the 2023 OFSAA Cross Country Provincial Championships November 4 in Etobicoke,
North Dundas District High School student Sam Schuler, from Grantley, competed in the Novice Grade 9 Boys 4K race and finished in 49th overall in a field of 265 competitors.
He ran the mixed terrain course in 14 minutes, 2.38 seconds, 1 minute, 15 seconds out of first place.
This was Schuler’s first time competing at the provincial level, having qualified the week before at the Eastern Ontario championships in second place.
“It was fun, but the course was harder than I thought it would be,” he told The Leader. “The course was more challenging, with much bigger hills.”
He explained that he plans to compete again next season with an eye at returning to the provincial championship.
“I really enjoy the competition with other runners, pushing yourself to do better against others and yourself,” he said.
Schuler credited his coaches Kathy Poirer and Joe Groeneveld for helping him in training for the season and getting to provincials.
While this was Schuler’s first time at provincials, it was not for Morrisburg-based runner Kai Morrow.
Competing for St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School, Morrow finished in 16th place in the Junior Boys 5K race. He finished the race in 15 minutes, 26.79 seconds – 1 minute 32 seconds out of first place.
Morrow said he was very happy with this year’s results as he improved on his results from last year.
In 2022, he finished in 20th place in the Novice Boys 4K race.
“There isn’t anything quite like OFSAA,” Morrow said. “Running with so many people watching, and racing with so many talented athletes is really special.”
He described the course as “very fun.”
“It is on an old ski hill so the climb up was definitely the hardest part, but there was a long downhill after which helped with recovery,” Morrow said.
He described the terrain as something similar to what he is used to training on.
“Being able to train at elevation frequently definitely helps with the hills,” he added.
Morrow said he loves running in cross country because of the team and individual aspects of the sport.
“Unlike track and field, in cross country we get to both train and race as a team,” explained Morrow. “I compete as I love running, and the adrenaline at the start line is like no other.”
Morrow thanked his high school coaches Lynne McCuaid, Kyle Forrester and Leah Lamesse, along with his club coach Janet Winads.