This year the championship came close to home at Etobicoke Centennial Park. Many of our runners had run over the parks terrain during their school city finals competition, however, host club Etobicoke TFC set out new paths and challenges for our athletes to navigate.
The club doubled its presence at the championship compared to a year ago, sending a strong stable of twelve runners to the Championship.
The first to race as a Mite (7/8yr olds), was Chloe Pilz. This was Chloe's second meet, having already competed in Pickering earlier in the season. She ran to a well deserved 14th place, and was the 4th 7 year old to finish the race with the 8 year olds.
Two Boardwalkers participated in the mite boys race. Making club racing debuts were Jetsan Evans, and Xavier Bird. The boys were able to navigate the ups and downs of the course and manage the bumping that happens amongst the runners at the start. They fed off each others pace right till the end. Xavier crossed the line in 6th place, and Jetsan followed 6 seconds later in 10th place. Unfortunately, there were only 2 Boardwalk runners in this category today as others couldn't make it. If another runner from the club had finished in the top 16 places the team would have contested for one of the team medals.
In the Tyke group (9/10yr olds), Boardwalk returned 2 of the 4 runners that won Bronze at last years championship in Guelph. The two Charlies, Mills and Pilz, were back with two new teammates, Evan Carter and Cooper Loblaw. This year was their year. The team managed a dramatic win that shows just how important each runner is to the cause. Last years champions Etobicoke had the advantage running on their home course and training grounds, and it showed as they were able to capture the first and second overall. Pilz managed to hang on to the front runners pace and nearly sprinted into second. Mills having survived a slip and a fall at the halfway point, got up and stuck with the group as best he could and finished a strong 6th place. Evan also stayed in the fight and pushed his hardest to try and earn a top spot, crossing the line in 11th. The team score is made up of the top 3 runners places added together, lowest score wins. Etobicoke TFC places 1, 2, 17 =20; Boardwalk RC places 3, 6, 11 =20; and notably Milton Shock placed 5, 8, 9 =22. So the tiebreak is decided by the best 3rd runner between tied teams. Evan's 11th place turned last years bronze into gold. This will historically be the first provincial team championship in club history. Cooper made his club debut in this race as well. He placed well in 36th place and as the 8th placed 9 year old.
In Atom girls (11/12yr olds) competition were Fiona Pavlovska and Charlotte Melnyk. Fiona did well to overcome illness and a busy week of school finals racing. A fully fit Fiona would be eyeing a medal, but she was happy she could race at all. She represented Boardwalk well and finished 22nd. Charlotte Melnyk can consider herself a wiley veteran of the Boardwalk RC having raced in the first championships the club ever attended in Brantford 2013. She continues to improve and was able to place 82nd with a competitive time in a competitive field.
Dominic Temple and Rowan Carter were the Atom boys that represented Boardwalk RC by wearing the green and gold. Dominic has been making great strides in his improving running form. He has been working hard with goals and dreams of reaching the top places. But dreams can't be realized without actual hard work. And work is what Dominic has done. Dominic continues to move closer and closer to the top of his class with each passing meet. This time he finished in 12th, I would happily wager that he will attain places in the top 6 within a year. Rowan has started to become a more frequent fixture of our group. This was his second race in our colours and we hope to see him in many more races. His fast feet carried him into 33rd place. It'll be great to see these two athletes work with some of the new additions to the club. Hopefully, they will be able to field a team next year, I think this is an age group to watch in the team competition next year.
The success of these runners has to be shared with the club (every runner, coach, parent). Because, as a team, it is your hardwork that helps us all achieve success.
The growing Boardwalk RC youth group had an exciting cross country campaign. A summer of work on beach sand and hills paid off. And when it comes to TDSB cross-country, nothing beats a weekly run on the course with the coach who designed the course, a clear advantage that helps our athletes know every turn, hills, and tree on their path.
The MTA season saw our athletes compete in Pickering, Bolton, and Etobicoke. Our runners also represented their schools in TDSB and TCDSB competitions.
First lets recap some of the strong school performance. The greatest success we have seen is what a dedicated year of work can do. It is so rewarding for both athlete and coach to see improvements in performances that lead to meets an athlete has never qualified for before. In this category, I'd like to recognize the efforts of Fiona Pavlovska, Dominic Temple, Charlie Pilz, and Thomas Gregory. Fiona began her journey in cross country as a runner who in her first attempt finished in 66 place, she started running with a group and then officially with Boardwalk RC last year. At that time she made a big jump and was able to finish in 6th place at the first meet as a grade 6, and qualified for the city finals as a middle of the pack runner. As a grade 7 student this year she was a force. She won the first meet by a huge margin, and that was just the start. Conference final was more of the same, Fiona winning and then looking back to see where the competition was, and being shocked to find no one was near. Battling a cold at the city final, Fiona dug deep and was able to hold on to a silver medal and lead her team to a medal as well. That's one story of how 2 years of focus can change your results.
Also reinventing himself as a runner was Dominic Temple. He had never made it past the first round in any of his previous attempts. He came to Boardwalk RC to try it out, and he has never looked back. Dominic placed 5th in the first meet, 12th in the conference final and 33rd at the city final, all great results. And with the work ethic that Dominic is displaying and the goals he is setting, I expect to see many more inspiring results.
Charlie Pilz, is another determined athlete. He was a member of the bronze medal team at the city finals that was made up of two of his other Boardwalk RC team mates (Charlie Mills, and Calvin Warrillow). His journey to the city final began at the end of the conference final last year when he finished just on the outside of the top 20 qualifying places. His disappointment became his greatest strength. He focused his energy. Finished 2nd at an MTA event in September ahead of eventual city champion Kinnon Ringler, and brought his tenacity to the city final. He placed an exciting 7th, sandwiched between his teammates Charlie Mills (3rd) and Calvin Warrillow (20th) who represented their school the year before.
One of the other great efforts was from Thomas Gregory. His improvement from 66th place last year to 11th this year was the biggest placement jump among our group this year. He went on to a solid 50th place at the conference final. Maybe next year the story will be about his amazing city final performance, because he works that hard.
Here are notable top results from Boardwalk RC:
TDSB Conference Final
Jetsan Evans grade 3 4th place
Christopher Gregory grade 4 boys 3rd
Charlie Mills grade 5 boys 3rd
Charlie Pilz grade 5 boys 4th
Calvin Warrillow grade 5 boys 8th
Wiliam Gray grade 5 boys 16th
Evan Carter grade 5 boys 22nd
Ben Loewen grade 6 boys 22nd
Dominic Temple grade 7 boys 12th
Fiona Pavlovska grade 7 girls 1st
TDSB City Final
Christopher Gregory 12th
Charlie Mills 3rd
Charlie Pilz 7th
Calvin Warrillow 20th
Evan Carter 25th
Ben Loewen 26th
Dominic Temple 33rd
Fiona Pavlovska 2nd
TCDSB City Final
Liam McCullagh grade 6 boys 30th