With only a smidgen of the top-end provincial talent in town for the pre-OFSAA cross-country race, the local crew found out quickly just how tough the competition will be come time for OFSAA in early November.
SDSSAA athletes accounted for a total of just four top-five finishes between the six age groupings, two in junior boys and one each in both midget boys and girls.
Kennedy Cresswell of Macdonald-Cartier topped all local competitors by finishing second in the midget girls three-km race (13:33), 15 seconds back of race winner Emma Mensour of Huntsville and just three seconds ahead of Ashley Gillies of Thériault.
Natalie Lefebvre (Notre-Dame) finished sixth in a time of 13:47, while Emma McDougall (Lockerby) was 11th in 14:04. A familiar face near the front of elementary races in years gone bye, Ben Lagadin of Lively showed no signs of slowing down, earning bronze in the midget boys five-km race in a time of 19:43.
The second best local result in that grouping was posted by Stavros Gallant of Lockerby (16th — 21:14), with Mathieu Plamondon of Thériault crossing the line first in 18:02, more than a minute ahead of Luke Jaciw-Zurakowsky (Notre-Dame CSS).
It's shaping up to be a good race within the SDSSAA boys junior division as Brendan Costello (Lo-Ellen) and Dawson Chaperon (Confederation) finished back to back, placing third and fourth in times of 22:07 and 22:16.
Brad Boucher of Thériault claimed gold, speeding through the six-km course in 21:22, while Jeremy Haw of Confederation (eighth in 23:00) and Sean Anderson of Lockerby (10th in 23:09) also showed well in the strongest overall age bracket from a Sudbury and area perspective.
While Lucia Stafford of Toronto captured the junior girls race in 16:04, the SDSSAA trio of Karly Piro (St. Benedict — eighth in 18:31), Alexie Legault (Notre-Dame — ninth in 18:40) and Myla McCormick (Marymount — 11th in 18:44) showed signs of waging a very tight battle for bragging rights at the city championships later this month.
Sarah McLean of Lockerby was the only local senior girl to break through in the top-25 in her division, placing ninth with a time of 22:33 for the five-km course, as Claire Smith (Glebe Collegiate) managed the only sub 20-minute five-km time (19:58) in this bracket.
In just his first year of senior competition, Tie Pylatuk of Sacré-Coeur served notice that he will likely be the man to beat in the eldest age grouping, posting a time of 26:19 for seven kilometers, good for 21st place.
Liam Passi (Lasalle — 30th in 27:06) has his work cut out for him to narrow the gap with Pylatuk, who is coming off a summer of training with the Track North Athletic Club.
Justyn Knight (St. Michael's College — 23:11) outpaced North Bay native Graham Hansel (West Ferris — 23:27) for the win in the second-closest race of the day.
The local cross-country contingent are back in action on today, making the trek to Windy Park as the runners continue their preparation in advance of the SDSSAA finals on Oct. 17 at Laurentian University.