Casino Cino cashes in at South Regionals
Sophia Cino has come a long way since last August.
That month, the winner of the junior girls 1,500 metres and 3,000 metres at the South Regionals track and field meet at Welland Centennial this week had surgery to take out a rod in her leg from a skiing accident when she was five in which she broke her tibia and femur.
Only allowed to put weight on the leg in September, the Grade 10 student at Blessed Trinity made a quick recovery and managed to place 18th in the junior girls division at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations cross country championships.
“After cross country, a lot of people started telling me that I should do it outside of school and really pursue it,” the 15-year Grimsby resident said. “I really like running so I thought I would give it a go and I love it.”
She ended up joining the Runners’ Edge track club at Christmas
It has been love at first step for Cino.
“I did in elementary school more for fun but I had never done it seriously. It is really nice to have coaches and teammates.”
She agrees distance running is not for everyone.
“I think because of cross country I am used to distance. It is not easy but I like it and I would rather do it than do sprints.”
Cino loves all the challenges of distance running.
“You really have to push yourself both mentally and physically.”
Heading into her first high school track and field season, Cino wasn’t expecting to end up as the South Regionals champion in two events.
“I surprised myself,” she said. “I have to give a lot of credit to my coach (Benny Ralston) and my teammates at Runners’ Edge. They have helped me so much and from when I started at Christmas. I have improved so much.”
Those improvements have come in a number of areas.
“My mentality, strategy and race planning have come so far. I never knew you had to do any of that. Planning and prepping and getting myself prepared properly is so important.”
Cino also played basketball with Blessed Trinity and a travel team in Grimsby.
Her basketball and track exploits made her a very busy teen.
“It was a lot. Every day of the week I was either at running or basketball but I love both of them.”
The distance running comes in handy on the basketball court.
“I don’t really get tired.”
Next up for Cino are the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championships June 2-4 at the Toronto Track and Field Centre at York University.
“I just want to do the best I can. Obviously I would like to get a medal if I can, but we will see what happens.”
Ralston is not surprised by Cino’s success.
“Sophia, Casino to her clubmates, has worked extra hard over the past six months,” he said. “She had a game plan today and ran it to perfection. It was a solid performance and the coaches are very proud of her.”