The next logical step in the progression of the Lo-Ellen Park track relay teams would be to run the perfect meet. Last week at the Laurentian University track, the Knights came darn close.
Capturing their 12th consecutive meet banner, Lo-Ellen athletes finished first in 15 of the 20 races that were staged, placing second in four other events. The Knights total of 187 points easily outpaced the 140 points accumulated by the Lockerby Vikings, with the Lasalle Lancers holding down third place with 77 points.
"There are quick, fast athletes all around the city, without a doubt," Lo-Ellen senior Joe Lucciantonio said. "In my experience, what makes us better prepared is the work on the exchanges, which begins well before the meet itself."
The Grade 12 student, preparing to head to Lakehead University in Thunder Bay in the fall, suggested the atmosphere around the relay meet differs somewhat from the feelings the athletes will experience next week at the SDSSAA Track and Field Championships.
"It's more about teams and that brotherhood or sisterhood, whatever the case might be, because it's so much about working together," he said. "Everybody plays such a big role in it."
That mindset seemed to be shared by the entire Lo-Ellen roster, regardless of how long they have been a part of the Knights track and field dynasty.
"You're not an individual, it's more of a team thing," junior Zoey Yao said. "After the race, you all get together and congratulate each other."
Running the third leg of both the 4 X 100-m and 4 X 400-m events, Yao was part of the closest finish of the day. Lo-Ellen edged Lockerby by just 1/100th of a second (54.11 vs 54.12) in the 4 X 100 matchup, though Yao was not at all convinced as she completed the second last leg of the race.
"I was wishing I had more of a lead to give to the anchor," Yao said. "I went through thinking we finished second, but apparently we got first."
Notwithstanding the neck-and-neck finish, Yao still prefers the 4 X 100 distance to the longer 400-metre event later in the day.
"It's a difficult one," she said. "On our team, you're either a sprinter or long distance, so the 400 is either too short or too long."
Such has been the dominance of the Lo-Ellen relay teams at this competition that only the Lockerby crew of 2000 interrupted what would have been a run of 26 consecutive aggregate championships garnered by Lo-Ellen, dating back to 1986.
Posted by Laurel Myers