This article was submitted by the Collingwood Collegiate Institute cross-country running team.
The Collingwood Collegiate Institute (CCI) cross-country running team has a history of success but the 2022 season is turning out to be one for the record books – and it’s not over yet. After capturing the overall championship in the Georgian Bay cross-country race series, the CCI Owls went on to be crowned Georgian Bay Secondary School Athletics (GBSSA) champions at last Thursday’s association meet at Highlands Nordic in Duntroon.
The black and gold team has captured titles before but this season will be one to remember – one like no other before it.
At the 2022 GBSSA Championships, Collingwood Collegiate played inhospitable hosts as they took first-place honours in five of the six races and finished second in the other race. This means that all six Fighting Owls teams qualify for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) provincial championships to be held at Dagmar Ski Resort in Uxbridge on Nov. 4 and 5. This is the first time in school history that every team from CCI has qualified for the same OFSAA championship. In fact, it is the first time in at least four decades that any school in the Georgian Bay region has accomplished this feat.
The history-making day for CCI sports began with the novice races when CCI’s Grade 9 athletes set the tone. The novice girls once again showed they are one of the best teams in the province as they captured gold with an incredible team score of 13 points. Sabine Cornell won the individual gold as GBSSA Champion followed closely by Sadie Johnson in third, Elly Moore in fourth and Meredith Halloway in fifth respectively. Rounding out that team were Hannah Whiteley, Parker Davies, Athena Markou and Rae Leblanc.
The novice boys then continued the theme with the black and gold jerseys finding the podium once again. Evan Moore grabbed gold as GBSSA champion, just ahead of teammate Marco Savini in second. The team was then completed with Gavin Sorensen and Evan Pollock finishing seventh and 10th respectively. Valuable efforts were also turned in by Andrew Francioni, Joal Blanco, Cole McKeown and Dashiell Yurchovic-Dyer.
The junior girls continued the march to OFSAA taking silver led by Kenzie Wall in fourth place and Alice Yates running up from novice to take ninth. Abigail Davidson, Ashleigh Cavill, Tessa Cheek and Charlotte Zschuckelt all ran well to guarantee the squad’s spot on the provincial stage.
The junior boys were not to be outdone as they grabbed another gold medal for CCI with Wes MacMillan leading the way in third place. The team then packed the results sheet with Nathan Sims in seventh, Memphis Palmer-Gummer in 12th, Sam Leider at 13th and Iain McKeller at 14th. Jack Bailey, Cooper Hammond, Haiden Green, Caiden Benoit filled out the team – all within the top 25 racers.
Then the seniors took to the slick trails of the Highlands to cap off a near-perfect day. The girls team roared to victory led by Chantal Abbott in second and Emmily Ott in fifth place. Gabby Wall took 10th while Payton Dodd was 16th to seal the top finish. Evie Oakey and Jessica Jackson turned in great performances to complete the squad.
Finally, the last race saw another gold for the Owls as Benjamin Mundle led the Senior Boys team with an impressive third place finish. Black and gold then flooded the finish area as Logan Bubb finished sixth, Johnny Liotta finished eighth, James Pederson in ninth, Alex Cavill in 10th and Max Nilsson at 13th completed the Senior team. Once again, valuable runs were turned in by Evan Chisholm, Finn Green, Noah Inkpen and Cayde Ling.
In the end, Collingwood Collegiate took home the overall girls, boys, and combined championships. The incredible team score of 58 points out of a possible 60 is the highest ever put together at a GBSSA meet.
During the season, the Owls also captured all three of the Georgian Bay series meets with five of their six teams being the top-ranked teams for the season. In addition, Collingwood Collegiate once again holds on to the Golden Boot, signifying the top overall program in the Simcoe County and Muskoka region.
Now the Fighting Owls will prepare to face the best in the province at the OFSAA Cross-Country Championships this weekend (Nov. 5). Just a few weeks ago the Owls faced a number of the best teams from across Ontario at the last of three meets on the OFSAA courses and were able to come away with first place honours at that “pre-OFSAA” meet as well.
It has been an unbelievable season of success for the Owls and with one major meet to go, they look to add even more highlights to this historic season.