For starters, while most cross-country events are strictly individual races with a team ranking based on placements, Tuesday's affair was a pure cross-country relay.
Teams of three runners covered a one-kilometre circuit, with each of the runners handling two loops of the course for a total of six kilometres per team. And while many of the athletes in attendance were familiar faces to the local track and field watchers, at least one member of the winning team is still getting used to the Northern Ontario landscape.
Lo-Ellen Park Secondary anchor Reinhartt Gobler enters Grade 12 this fall, having just recently moved to Canada with his family from South Africa. An 800m runner by trade, Gobler noted a few other differences between the Fielding course and the pathways he would run back home.
"This was nice and fast," said Gobler. "The ones I usually run, there's a bit of obstacles, hills and stuff."
That will certainly come in time as the local runners make their way over to the Laurentian University trails for a pre-OFSSA race later this month, with Sudbury playing host to the provincial championships in early November.
Gobler teamed with Brendan Costello and Chris Dodds to take first place overall, with the boys teams made up of a midget, junior and senior runner on each threesome.
While cross-country relays are few and far between, Gobler and many others enjoyed the novelty of this race.
"It was more challenging for me, because I had guys on my back, chasing me. I knew we were in first place, so I had to keep it."
Gobler and many of his teammates will be in North Bay on Friday, site of the Barons Invitational hosted by Ecole Secondaire Algonquin.
On the girls side, Lockerby Composite placed three teams in the top 10, including the first-place troika of Miranda Boudreau, Delaney Johnston and Sarah MacLean.
"This race is different, because it's just a one-kilometre loop," said Boudreau, a member of the Vikings midget team that qualified for OFSAA one year ago. "I find it tougher, because you have to go faster. I ran good, but not as good as I thought I would. But it feels a little better, because I have a team to rely on."
The 2013 high school cross-country season will expose runners to a wide variety of trails and conditions, though nothing other than experience will prepare those who work their way through to OFSAA.
Just entering Grade 10 at Lockerby, Boudreau remembers vividly her provincial race day of one year ago.
"There were so many people all over the place, everyone is there," she said. "The start is crazy. Everyone is sprinting to try and get in front. It was pretty scary."
Following is a listing of the top five teams for both the boys and girls categories:
1st - Lo-Ellen (Dodds, Costello, Gobler)
2nd - Lockerby (Chown, Anderson, Younggregoris)
3rd - Sacré-Coeur (Pylatuk, Howald, Waugh)
4th - Lockerby (Traoré, Walker, Gallant)
5th - Lo-Ellen (Brown, Gervais, Noble)
1st - Lockerby (Boudreau, Johnston, MacLean)
2nd - Marymount (McCormick, Roy, Taylor)
3rd - Macdonald-Cartier (Cresswell, Belanger, Legault)
4th - Collège Notre-Dame (Kucheran, Belanger, Vaillancourt)
5th - Lockerby (Shell, Ransom, McDougall)