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KC captures county high school cross-country title

October 18, 2013

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

Typically, when a coach has two talented runners in the same race, he tries to offer them different counsel.

“Usually one’s a little stronger, the other’s a little faster,” Steve Boyd said Thursday. “You tell the stronger one to apply pressure early and often, and you tell the faster one to sit and kick.”

Alas, such advice would have been worthless to share with Nicole Armstrong and Heather Jaros before the senior girls race at the Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association cross-country championships.

“They’re both strong, and they’re both fast,” said Boyd, who trains both runners with his Physi-Kult group, “so I let them sort it out.”

Racing according to plan, the two began the final 200 metres of Thursday’s race well ahead of the rest of the field, running virtually even. Then Armstrong, of Sydenham, beat Jaros, of La Salle, to the finish line.

Both runners surpassed the course record time set three years ago by Frontenac’s Cleo Boyd — daughter of the new record-holder’s coach — with Armstrong finishing the 5.1-kilometre course in 17 minutes, 58.6 seconds. Jaros was 2.5 seconds behind.

“They did a great job,” Steve Boyd said.

Armstrong, a second-year senior in her final KASSAA championship race, and Jaros, a first-year senior, are both among the province’s elite runners, and both figure to be in the hunt for a medal throughout the remainder of the high school season.

“We had a strategy before the race,” Jaros said. “At the beginning drop everybody, then settle down a little bit and then pick it up near the end.”

After starting the race conservatively, Armstrong said they planned to pick up the pace near the end “and see who had it in them.”

“I was nervous going into it because Heather is really good right now. She’s super fit and I know we’re going to have good races in the future.”

Armstrong said because she and Jaros are friends, it wasn’t difficult to devise a strategy for the race.

“It wasn’t like we were plotting against each other,” she said. “We were plotting together, to get the best out of this race that we could. We could have easily gone faster, pounded at each other, kept it going, but I think (we ran) well enough.

“We’re going to have a workout soon and we might have a better workout (for having done that). All the way, from KASSAA, EOSSA and OFSAA, Heather and I will be together, so we can’t be beating each other up all the time.”

She paused.

“By OFSAA,” she smiled, “all bets are off.”

Boyd said the two runners are remarkably similar.

“Their 800(-metre) times are a tenth of a second apart; their 1,500 times are two seconds apart. There’s probably not 10 seconds between them over 5 k. They both have good top end (speed) as well.

“Nicole tends to have a little more killer instinct in situations like that but when you throw a few other people in the mix, Heather steps up.”

On an overcast but unseasonably warm day at Lemoine Point, Ben Workman described his victory in the senior boys race as a confidence booster, after a disappointing preseason race two weeks ago on the EOSSA course in Brockville.

“I wasn’t having fun and I got all tight and was slowing down from about five kilometres out,” he recalled. “It was ugly.”

A bronze medallist last spring over 3,000 meters at the provincial high school track championships, Workman, of Kingston Collegiate, said his goals for Thursday’s race were simply to “have fun and feel good.”

“I tried to feel as good as I could for most of the race and then on the last lap work hard,” he said. “This was definitely a confidence booster. I had a bad race in Brockville and it was good to get a good race in.”

Workman crossed the finish line in 23 minutes 59.9 seconds, almost 13 seconds ahead of Frontenac’s Mitch Kirby.

To relax during the race, Workman said, he tried to think of witty things along the way. For example, he recalled chiding KC teammate Reilly Lacasandile — who ultimately would finish sixth, despite not running all summer, nor competing in either the cross-country or track seasons in the last high school year.

“He was up with us after the second lap,” Workman said. “I said to him that we had great weather and it was all just for him so he had to perform.

“That kind of stuff helped.”

In the closest race of the day, Paul Bates of Regiopolis Notre Dame claimed the midget boys title by 2.4 seconds over Alex Drover of Kingston. Bates covered the 5.1-kilometre course in 16 minutes 55.6 seconds.

Other race winners Thursday were KC’s Jackie Quesnell (midget girls, 13 minutes 1.6 seconds), Regi’s Branna MacDougall (junior girls, 15:32.3) and KC’s Cameron Linscott (junior boys, 21:50.7).

Twelve county schools sent 225 runners to take part In the six races. Top athletes for the other schools were Claudia Murphy, who was second in the midget girls race for Holy Cross; Julien Guyon of Marie-Rivier, fifth in the junior boys race; Loyalist’s Kristina Walker, seventh in senior girls division; Catherine Noble of Bayridge, ninth in the midget girls race; Ernestown’s Emma McNichols, ninth among junior girls; Napanee’s Josh Murphy, 10th in senior boys; and Shane Scott of Queen Elizabeth, 38th in the midget boys event.

In winning the overall team championship KC won four of the six age-group team titles, all but junior boys (won by Regi) and senior girls (won by Sydenham).

Results

Top three performances in each race at the annual Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association cross-country championships Thursday at Lemoine Point Conservation Area:

BOYS

Senior (7.1 kilometres) — Ben Workman (Kingston) 23 minutes 59.9 seconds, Mitch Kirby (Frontenac) 24:12.6, Jonathan Besselink (Holy Cross) 24:26.5.

Junior (6.4 kilometres) — Cameron Linscott (Kingston) 21 minutes 50.7 seconds, Ryan Dowdall (La Salle) 22:17.1, Paul Sagriff (Regiopolis Notre Dame) 22:20.4.

Midget (5.1 kilometres) — Paul Bates (Regiopolis Notre Dame) 16 minutes 55.6 seconds, Alex Drover (Kingston) 16:58.0, Isaac Sanderson (Sydenham) 17:45.9.

GIRLS

Senior (5.1 kilometres) — Nicole Armstrong (Sydenham) 17 minutes 58.6 seconds, Heather Jaros (La Salle) 18:01.1, Emily Drouin (Regiopolis Notre Dame) 18:59.8.

Junior (4.3 kilometres) — Branna MacDougall (Regiopolis Notre Dame) 15 minutes 32.3 seconds, Heidi Scott (Kingston) 16:47.6, Kendra Burns (Regiopolis Notre Dame) 17:13.8.

Midget (3.0 kilometres) — Jackie Quesnell (Kingston) 13 minutes 1.6 seconds, Claudia Murphy (Holy Cross) 13:39.6, Sage Drake (Kingston) 13:47.6.

TEAM

Senior boys — Kingston 24 points, Holy Cross 38, Sydenham 66.

Senior girls — Sydenham 27, Kingston 28, Regiopolis Notre Dame 65.

Junior boys — Regiopolis Notre Dame 27, Sydenham 43, Kingston 46.

Junior girls — Kingston 20, Regiopolis Notre Dame 21, Holy Cross 88.

Midget boys — Kingston 17, Holy Cross 47, Regiopolis Notre DAme 53.

Midget girls — Kingston 45, Regiopolis Notre Dame 56.

Overall — Kingston 64 points, Regiopolis Note Dame 44, Sydenham 30.

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