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CCI runners race to top-ten OFSAA finishes

High school running team has one of the best seasons in history with top-ten finishes at Ontario championship event

The Collingwood Collegiate Institute (CCI) Fighting Owls Cross-Country Team finished their 2019 season in outstanding form as they took on the best teams and best individual distance runners in Ontario at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Championships on November 2 at Kivi Park in Sudbury.

Twenty-seven Owls made the trip north on the weekend and battled not only Ontario’s best runners but some of Ontario’s worst weather with over 20 cm of snow and near-freezing temperatures creating courses they will not soon forget.

Overall, the Owls put forth a full team effort as they had runners in six of the seven races and the four Collingwood teams that qualified for these provincial championships led CCI to a ninth-place overall finish in Ontario while the Girls’ teams placed eighth overall in the province.

The Black and Gold of CCI once again did itself proud as it posted some of its best results in years – if not ever! Leading the way was the Junior Girls’ team of Hailey Abbott, Leah Ray, Meghan Howell, Maddie Calder and Leah McGladdery who grabbed the silver medal in their race – improving one spot from last year’s third-place finish in Hamilton. It was a full team victory as all five athletes finished in the top 95 in a field of over 250 Grade 10 runners.

The Novice Boys made the most of their OFSAA debut with Marcus Lougheed putting in one of the individual performances of the day placing 12th in a race featuring over 260 of Ontario’s best Grade 9 runners. The team made up of Lougheed, Alex Cavill, Devlin Gillis, Logan Bub and Cole Rumbolt then cracked the top-ten as a team taking seventh place honours.

The Novice Girls acquitted themselves very well as they added to the impressive overall team score with a 14th place finish in the province. The team was led by Gabby Wall’s 52nd finish and featured fine runs by Payton Dodd, Avery O’Neill, Sarah Deakos and Quinn Hammond.

John Parnell posted a great result in the Boys’ Para event taking fourth overall in Ontario in that race.

In the Junior Boys' race, Ben Cornell ran to an outstanding 68th place finish in a field of over 260 of Ontario's best runners.

The Senior Boys then capped off the day with a great performance on the trails that were reduced to mush and slush by the time they started. Jack Czerny led the Senior Owls and together with Sage Fry, Josh Fagan, James MacCulloch and Oliver Czerny soared their way to a 22nd place finish in Ontario.

Overall it was a fantastic showing by the Owls and brings to a close one of the most successful OFSAA’s in memory. The Junior Girls’ silver medal finish is the highest team finish in school history and the Novice Boys in seventh is the best CCI result on the Boys’ side since 2002!

Overall, for the season, the Black and Gold of CCI proudly add these OFSAA results to their Golden Boot Championship as the top team in the Georgian Bay Race Series, their Overall Team title at the Pre-OFSAA Fielding Invitational, as well being the Girls’ Overall, the Boys’ Overall and the Overall Combined Champions at GBSSA as all six teams from CCI made the GBSSA podium.