Runners battle the heat
St Francis’ Sam Nolan, Eden’s Carter McMaster and Churchill’s Corbin Atkinson jockey for position in the junior boys race at the Bulldog Invitational. Photo by BERNIE PUCHALSKI
Like everyone else, Sam Nolan was battling the heat Monday at the Bulldog Invitational cross country meet at Burgoyne Woods in St. Catharines.
“Everyone behind you is feeling the exact same thing,” said the Grade 10 student at St. Francis. “I stayed in the shade, I had water dumped on my head and when you are running, you have to forget about the heat.”
That plan obviously worked for the 15-year-old, who placed first in the junior boys division.
Last year, the Niagara Regional Athletics member was second at zone cross country, fourth at SOSSA and 45th at OFSAA. In high school track and field, he was the midget boys SOSSA champion in the 800 metres and 1,500 metres and finished ninth at OFSAA in the latter event.
“Last year in cross country, I had more speed than endurance, but this year I did a lot more longer runs and built up more endurance,” Nolan said.
His goal is to win SOSSA and place in the top 20 at OFSAA.
“There are so many good runners who have trained a lot before I even started running,” he said, of his OFSAA goal.
Nolan started training for distance running at end of Grade 7 and enjoys a love-hate relationship with the sport.
“It’s terrible most of the time, but part of it is keeping fit,” he said, with a laugh. “The competition is fun, you get to go places, you get to face off against other runners and you see your hard work pay off.”
He takes part in two NRA practices a week and an optional one on Saturday. Nolan also runs on his own twice a week.
CAN’T CATCH KATE
After a summer of all soccer and no training for cross country running, E.L. Crossley’s Kate Knafelc is a work in progress.
“I hope to get to the point I was at last year,” the 15-year-old said. “I hope to do as well as I can at OFSAA, but I know I am up against Grade 12s.”
She got off to a good start Monday by winning the senior girls division at the Bulldog Invitational.
Last year competing as a junior girl in cross country, Knafelc won zone and SOSSA and placed fifth at OFSAA. In track and field, she won zone, SOSSA and regionals in the 3,000 metres and placed seventh at OFSAA. In the steeplechase, she topped zone and SOSSA, was third at regionals and 13th at OFSAA.
Unfortunately for cross country running, Knafelc’s first love is soccer and the Niagara Regional under-16 team member hopes to one day garner a soccer scholarship.
“I don’t even know if I will continue running once I get to university,” she said.
She will, however, persist until then because she finds running is excellent training for soccer.
“It helps me with endurance, strength and speed,” she said. “I know by the end of a 90-minute game I still have energy and a lot of opponents don’t. I can use that to my advantage.”
Following are top five results from the meet Monday.
Midget girls: 1. Tessa Jeffery, E.L. Crossley; 2. Bianca Salierno, Churchill; 3. Molly Devereux, Greater Fort Erie; 4. Demi Maroudas, Eden; 5. Shayla Kuzyk, Churchill.
Midget boys: 1. Eric Campbell, Churchill; 2. Owen Lockyer, Eden, 3. Brock Coffin, Myer; 4. Colton Sawatsky, E.L. Crossley; 5. Tyler Woodland, Smithville Christian.
Junior girls: 1. Sydney Grummett, E.L. Crossley; 2. Sophie McMullin, Smithville Christian; 3. Paige Clements. E.L. Crossley; 4. Olivia Morey, Eden; 5. Emma Kalielieff, E.L. Crossley.
Junior boys: 1. Sam Nolan, St. Francis; 2. Corbin Atkinson, Churchill; 3. Carter McMaster, Eden; 4. Nick Longo, E.L. Crossley; 5. Shawn Heerema, Smithville Christian.
Senior girls: Kate Knafelc, E.L. Crossley; 2. Kayleigh Bush, A.N. Myer; 3. Kaelen Partridge, E.L. Crossley; 4. Jessie Fennell. E.L. Crossley; 5. Cate Gualtieri, E.L. Crossley.
Senior boys: 1. Santiago Gaitan-Caballero, Notre Dame; 2. Nicholas Young, St. Francis; 3. Brock Deba, E.L. Crossley; 4. Denan Free, EL. Crossley; 5. Jared Atea, Smithville Christian.