Oct 01, 2012- 3:17 PM
Organizer Darren Jermyn hosted the third running of the competition, with a number of familiar faces hitting the podium as reputations begin to become established.
After finishing second to schoolmate Jaclyn Groom one year ago, Marlee Henschel of Walden Public School took the next step forward, capturing the junior girls 1,800-metre run, just three seconds ahead of Kelsey Dunn of Ecole Publique Hélène-Gravel.
The junior boys race was easily the closest of the day, with Dario Beljo (MacLeod Public) outleaning Tyler Dunn (Hélène-Gravel) at the finish line.
"Tyler is a great runner and I just beat him by about a millimeter," Beljo said after the race.
A 10-year-old Grade 5 student at MacLeod, Beljo trailed only Jacxsen Cress in the same division last year, though he still has one more year of junior eligibility.
"I have to give a big thanks to (Cambrian College x-country coach) Meghan Juuti," Beljo said. "I did lots of running with her this summer and my time this year was about 15 seconds faster than last year."
In the senior grouping (Grades 7 and 8), Karly Hellstrom (Nesbitt) and Ben Lagadin (Lively) mirrored their respective podium placings of two years ago at the junior level, with both young harriers leading the pack.
Hellstrom was second in seniors in 2011, just back of Myla McCormick (who won the high school midget race later in the afternoon), but won going away this fall, a full 10 seconds ahead of Emma Chamberland from Marymount.
For his part, Lagadin looked strong in covering off the 3,100-metre course in a time of 12:21, six seconds better than Greg Doane of Central Manitoulin.
While a number of schools showed up with large and very vocal contingents, some avid individual runners from various schools made the trek on their own, with a little help along the way.
Doane, for instance, was one of only two participants from Central Manitoulin, joining Carissa Holliday (17th in junior girls) and her father/their coach Gerry Holliday.
The tandem have been busy this fall, travelling to Timmins last week for a race and heading to North Bay for the Barons Invitational this Friday.
In the team competition, the junior boys and girls divisions ended the day with identical placings, with Hélène-Gravel garnering gold, followed by Walden Public School and the Holy Cross Cubs, making their local elementary school athletic entrance.
The senior girls team aggregates featured the Algonquin Tigers (gold), Marymount Regals (silver) and Macdonald-Cartier Panthères (bronze), while Lively, Macdonald-Cartier and St-Denis finished 1-2-3 on the boys side.