Dominating a division like few others have in the history of the SDSSAA Cross-Country Championships Tuesday afternoon at Laurentian University, the Vikings swept the first five spots, including something of a surprise at the top of the heap.
After waging a year-long battle with teammate Sarah MacLean, finishing second to her Lockerby compatriot in all the previous races this fall, Rachel Leck leap-frogged to first in the city finals.
The Leck and MacLean tandem led a quintet that was followed by Ashley Sandre, Allanna Sorgini and Hanna Savoie, all within less than two minutes of one another.
"We have a lot of competition with each other and the placings are always switching around," MacLean said.
While she was running throughout most of her years at Algonquin Public School, it is really only in the past three to four seasons that MacLean said she has become increasingly serious about the sport.
"I'm running more on my own now," she said. "When I started doing well in grades 7 and 8, I thought that I should probably start training a little harder."
Like most of the runners out on the course, MacLean appreciated one of the few decent days for running in a fall that has seen most of the local cross-country crew persevering through rain, cold and even the odd snowfall during the six-week schedule. Still somewhat on the cool side, the sun and the setting provided a welcome respite for the athletes on Tuesday.
"I really like this course," she said. "It's really pretty out there, a very nice run."
Of course, the Lockerby junior girls were not the only Vikings to experience some success as the cross-country powerhouse swept both the overall girls and boys titles en route to the aggregate team championship.
In the senior boys race, Jordan Courchesne stayed just far enough ahead to fend off Lockerby teammate Tim Tindall in posting a six-second winn while Emily Marcolini of St. Benedict made a triumphant return in the senior girls competition.
After dealing with a variety of nagging injuries throughout her 2011-2012 campaign, Marcolini looked extremely strong in capturing her grouping by almost a minute and a half, well ahead of Eve Boissonneault, who had posted a pair of upsets at the city track and field championships last May.
The junior boys race would see Aiden Spoel of Lo-Ellen make an easy transition from the midget ranks to the next step up the ladder. An accomplished biathlete, Spoel finished 25 seconds ahead of Tie Pylatuk of Sacré-Coeur, defending the cross-country crown he claimed last year in Grade 9.
As for the incoming class of high school freshman, Myla McCormick of Marymount picked right up where she left off from a successful elementary track career, winning the midget girls division.
McCormick raced to a 20-second victory, with Carly Piro (St. Benedict) and Miranda Boudreau (Lockerby) hot on her tail. The victory by McCormick helped the Marymount Regals lay claim to the A school girls team banner, with the Confederation Chargers taking both the A boys crown and the overall A team bragging rights.
The midget boys race provided a veritable "coming out party" for Lockerby's Sean Andersen, who posted an impressive win, finishing 98 seconds ahead of Brandon Costello from Lo-Ellen.
The NOSSA championships are slated for next Friday on Manitoulin Island, with the OFSAA races set for Nov. 3 at the Heart Lake Conservation Area in Brampton.