Bronze redemption for Holy Cross runner
Campbell Lee finally earned redemption following the senior boys race at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations cross country meet in Petawawa.
Battling a head cold last year, the Grade 12 student at Holy Cross finished a disappointing 68th. All that was a distant memory after the 17-year-old claimed a bronze medal Saturday.
It was one of five medals won by Niagara athletes including: Beamsville’s Owen Konkle, gold in para boys; Saint Michael’s Julianna Miszk, silver in para girls; Sir Winston Churchill’s Shayla Kuzyk, Lauren Brooks, Mikayla Scaglione, Sadie Braun and Sarah Mateus, bronze in the midget girls team event; and, Beamsville’s Shannon Swinson, bronze in para girls.
Lee reached his target Saturday.
“Going into it, my main goal was to place in top three,” he said. “I was hoping to win but coming in the top three is really exciting and I am happy with that.”
The eventual winner, Thomas Witkowicz, forced everyone to a quick pace right from the start and Lee followed.
“But I was really hurting so I dropped back a bit with some of the other guys who were catching up to us,” the Niagara Olympic Club member said. “From there, we pulled away from everyone until one of the guys in the group dropped off.
“Then it became three of us and it strung out from there for the rest of the race.”
When he crossed the finish line third, Lee was initially shocked.
“I didn’t know what to think at first because I was really dead and super tired,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it had happened at first.”
Next up for Lee, who made the 1,500-metre finals this summer at the junior nationals, is the Athletics Ontario provincial cross country meet Sunday followed by the national meet in two weeks time.
“I have the same kind of goals because I’m pretty sure its going to be the same guys racing,” he said. “Top three would be really nice.”
Once nationals are over, he will take a two-week break and then start preparing for the indoor track and field season.
Kate Knafelc blew away her expectations at the OFSAA cross country meet in Petawawa.
Last year, the Grade 11 student at E.L. Crossley placed fifth at OFSAA in the junior girls division but wasn’t aiming as high in 2017 considering it was her first year in the senior division.
“I was hoping for top 20 so I’m happy,” she said, after placing fifth Saturday in the senior girls division. “I think two of the girls ahead of me were Grade 12 and the others were my grade.”
Given that scenario, she might be thinking ahead to a podium finish next year.
“Maybe, I don’t know,” she said, with a laugh. “Assuming I make it, I will have to see going into it. That would be nice to be on the podium in my last year.”
Knafelc came agonizingly close to being on the podium Saturday.
“I’m not going to lie,” she said. “I was a little frustrated because I finished five seconds after third and three seconds after fourth.
“It was close and maybe with a bit more time I could have passed them, but that’s hindsight.”
She was happy with how the race played out.
“It was a lot of hill work but we train on hills so I felt good.”
Knafelc also benefitted from Crossley’s decision to head to Petawawa on Thursday.
“We had the whole day Friday to look at the course, go to the Nike tent and do all that stuff,” she said. “It definitely helped. We had more time to get to know the course and know where we would be running.”
Unlike most of her competitors in the upper echelons of high school cross country running in Ontario, Knafelc won’t be continuing on with any intense training for running.
“I will probably train a little bit but not as much,” she said. “I may go for a couple of runs a week but I will mainly be focusing on pre-season, indoor soccer training until high school track starts up in March.
She is a member of the Niagara Regional Soccer Program’s under-17 girls squad.
Following are results from Niagara athletes competing at the OFSAA cross country meet held Saturday in Petawawa:
Para boys: 1. Owen Konkle, Beamsville; 10. Joseph Nokeo, Beamsville.
Para girls: 2. Julianna Miszk, Saint Michael; 3. Shannon Swanson, Beamsville.
Midget boys: 16. Adam Woehl, Greater Fort Erie; 18, Owen Lockyer, Eden; 65. Tyler Woodland, Smithville Christian; 78. Matthew Jokic, BT; 156. Donovan Fenton, Crossley; 161. Colton Sawatsky, Crossley; 172. Samuel Nawrocki, Crossley; 173. Lucas Cino, BT; 195. Owen Metler, Crossley; 227. Frank Adzijevich, BT; 237. Dylan Pergantile, BT; 253. William Hamilton, Crossley. Blessed Trinity finished 30th in the team standings and E.L. Crossley was 32nd.
Midget girls: 12. Tessa Jeffery, Crossley; 23. Alissa Mete, Notre Dame; 34. Amy Baggs, Eden; 40. Shayla Kuzyk, Churchill; 46. Lauren Brooks, Churchill; 51. Molly Devereux, Greater Fort Erie; 79. Camryn Bylsma, Great Lakes; 83. Mikayla Scaglione, Churchill; 128. Sadie Braun, Churchill; 202. Sarah Mateus, Churchill. Sir Winston Churchill was third in team standings.
Junior boys: 13. Corbin Atkinson, Churchill; 15. Carter McMaster, Eden; 20. Eric Campbell, Churchill; 41. Noah Lavoie, Holy Cross; 74. Ethan Miskolczi, Notre Dame; 106. Riley Coles, Churchill; 119. Sam Nolan, St. Francis; 226. Matt Keyes, Churchill; 243. Josh Bezanson, Churchill. Sir Winston Churchill placed eighth in the team standings.
Junior girls: 65. Laura Mascai, Lakeshore Catholic; 83. Brenna Ainslie, Westlane; 101. Ella Whalen, Saint Michael; 145. Kennedy Stock, Ridley College; 158. Sydney Grummett, Crossley; 159. Cori Mascai, Lakeshore Catholic; 182. Julia Taras, Lakeshore Catholic; 210. Olivia More, Eden.
Senior boys: 3. Campbell Lee, Holy Cross; 44. Taylor Mowat, Churchill; 89. Brock Deba, Crossley; 108. Ethan Girard, Churchill; 126. Nick Reimer, Churchill; 144. Alex Meffe, Churchill; 185. Harry Lengyel, Churchill; 190. Callum Campbell, Ridley College. Sir Winston Churchill placed sixth in the team standings.
Senior girls: 5. Kate Knafelc, Crossley; 60. Jessie Fennell, Crossley; 72. Larissa Adamo, Myer; 134. Kayleigh Bush, Myer; 160. Mackenzie Damiano, Laura Secord; 191. Taylor Jamieson-Nicholls, Saint Paul; 195. Kaelen Partridge, Crossley; 241. Cate Gualtieri, Crossley; 242. Julia Labricossa, Crossley. E.L. Crossley placed 14th in the team standings.