A total of six age group winners were crowned, none of whom were first-place finishers at the same event one year ago.
The fresh faces were led by a pair of first-year senior runners as Tie Pylatuk of Sacré-Coeur and Sarah MacLean of Lockerby both can look forward to having the opportunity to defend their crown next fall.
Pylatuk, who finished second to Aiden Spoel in the 2012 junior boys event, outkicked fellow Grade 11 student and Track North teammate Liam Passi, capturing the senior boys seven-kilometre race in a time of 26:30.19.
Pylatuk, who doesn't celebrate his 16th birthday until December of this year, and Passi have become regular running mates, with the Lasalle Lancer harrier giving a tip of the hat, this time around, to his friend.
"I thought I might be able to catch up to Tie a little bit quicker, but he played it really well today. Maybe at NOSSA," Passi said with a smile.
Both Pylatuk and Passi, as well as the vast majority of the competitors on hand, are familiar with both the cross-country terrain, as well as middle distance track events.
"They're both completely different experiences," Passi explained. "I do like the fact that in cross-country, you never know what's going to happen, the trails always change. But I perform better at track and field."
As for MacLean, few will be surprised to see her dominate in both settings, recording the second largest victory of the day, 57 seconds ahead of fellow Viking Ashley Sandre. In fact, Lockerby took home four of the top five spots in the senior girls race, six of the top eight if we follow a little further.
The 16-year-old Grade 11 student was deservedly confident coming into the city finals.
"For the past year, I've been increasing my mileage," said MacLean, who finished behind Rachel Leck in the junior event in October of last year.
"I worked on going up the hills fast, and I worked on coming down with speed, especially with OFSAA coming up on the same course," MacLean continued. "I knew who was here and I knew I could probably go ahead early.
"I like running with other people, because it really pushes me. But being at the front, it's always fun."
After emerging as the top dog among his peers by the time track and field season rolled around last spring, Brendan Costello of Lo-Ellen was looking forward to seeing if he could duplicate his success while "stretching it out" a little.
"Being mostly an 800m runner really affects how I go into a race, strategy-wise," Costello said. "I try and keep with the pack for most of the race, until the last 300m or 400m, then just gun it, because my kick can out-kick most."
"Most", in this particular case, would be his Confederation rival, Dawson Chaperone, just 11 seconds back of Costello in second place.
"Me and him are on and off the whole time," Chaperone said with a smile.
"In this race, it was pretty even. We both had the lead at times, but he has a really good kick."
Costello agrees that the familiarity with the competition helps to make the races even that much more enjoyable.
"We know each other's strengths and weaknesses," said Costello. "He likes to start fast. The first kilometre or two, I was going to just keep him in my sight, maybe try and catch him on the hills. It's a good competition."
A similar duel carried over to the junior girls race, where Alexie Legault of Collège Notre-Dame and Karly Piro of St. Benedict's are friendly foes on the trails and teammates when it comes to hitting the ice as members of the Sudbury Lady Wolves.
Spurred on by the motivation of closing the gap on her close friend, Legault finished sixth last year, with Piro in second, just back of Myla McCormick. This time around, the order was flipped, with Legault earning gold (17:53.29), Piro settling for silver (18:13.25) and McCormick garnering bronze (18:33.69).
It is certainly way too early to be drawing comparisons with Walden running great Ross Proudfoot, but the 87-second margin of victory posted by Lively midget Ben Lagadin was impressive, to say the least.
The Grade 9 youngster covered the 5,200m course in 21:11.36, well ahead of Stavros Gallant of Lockerby (22:38.01) and Chris Dodds of Lo-Ellen (23:12.93). Lagadin first gathered cross-country attention as a Grade 6 student at Walden Elementary, capturing first place in the Laurentian Invitational with relative ease.
"Back then, I wasn't training with the Bobcats and Track North," Lagadin noted. "I have strategies now. I start near the front and push myself. I had a pretty good idea that I would be winning this race, because I've raced against these kids a lot this year.
"I train on these trails all summer, so I know when to push myself and when to relax. Once I get to the hill, my trainers told me you have to start pushing it. You feel better after the first 10 metres over the hill."
Finally, Lasalle midget Karly Hellstrom appears poised to follow in the footsteps of her older sister — sort of. Where Jenna Hellstrom made a name for herself as one of the city's top sprinters before heading to Kent State on a soccer scholarship this fall, her younger sibling has a definite preference towards the longer distances.
Hellstrom took top spot in the midget girls race, crossing the line in 13:45.00, with Kennedy Cresswell of Macdonald-Cartier finishing second in 14:37.00.
"I was pretty nervous today, because I only really did Windy Lake, but a lot of the runners were not there," Hellstrom said.
"I was just going to run my race at the same pace that I always run. I figured if I did that, it would be easier than trying to change my race."
All of the SDSSAA cross-country elite will are in North Bay this today as Chippewa Secondary School plays host to the NOSSA championships, with the 2013 OFSAA cross-country races back in Sudbury on Saturday, Nov. 2.
Following are the top five finishers for all six categories from the city championships:
Senior Boys - 7 kms
1st - Tie Pylatuk (Sacré-Coeur) – 26:30.19
2nd - Liam Passi (Lasalle) – 26:43.89
3rd - Alex Sarvas (Lo-Ellen) – 28:26.66
4th - Aidan Spoel (Lo-Ellen) – 29:16.62
5th - Glen Younggregoris (Lockerby) – 29:23.68
Senior Girls - 5.2 kms
1st - Sarah MacLean (Lockerby) – 24:34.63
2nd - Ashley Sandre (Lockerby) – 25:31.94
3rd - Teagan Moxam (Lockerby) – 26:02.24
4th - Alex Smuland (Confederation) – 26:20.47
5th - Angela Perdue (Lockerby) – 26:49.45
Junior Boys - 6.2 kms
1st - Brendan Costello (Lo-Ellen) – 24:12.45
2nd - Dawson Chaperone (Confederation) – 24:23.36
3rd - Jeremy Haw (Confederation) – 24:53.57
4th - Sean Anderson (Lockerby) – 25:19.32
5th - Preston St Pierre (Confederation) – 27:01.00
Junior Girls - 4 kms
1st - Alexie Legault (Notre-Dame) – 17:53.29
2nd - Karly Piro (St Benedict) – 18:13.25
3rd - Myla McCormick (Marymount) – 18:33.69
4th - Emmy-Lou Kucheran (Notre-Dame) – 18:41.48
5th - Nicole Conlin (Lo-Ellen) – 18:47.52
Midget Boys - 5.2 kms
1st - Ben Lagadin (Lively) – 21:11.36
2nd - Stavros Gallant (Lockerby) – 22:38.01
3rd - Chris Dodds (Lo-Ellen) – 23:12.93
4th - Dawson Nootchtai (St Benedict) – 23:49.14
5th - Oliver Ecclestone (Lockerby) – 24:01.83
Midget Girls - 3.2 kms
1st - Karly Hellstrom (Lasalle) – 13:45.00
2nd - Kennedy Cresswell (Macdonald-Cartier) – 14:37.00
3rd - Stephanie Smuland (Confederation) – 15:19.00
4th - Natalie Lefebvre (Notre-Dame) – 15:44.00
5th - Kyla Bruni (Lo-Ellen) - 15:53.00