NCAA crowns cross country champs
Notre Dame’s Santiago Gaitan and Nicholas Young from St. Francis are the first two senior boys across the finish line Wednesday at the Niagara Catholic Athletic Association cross country meet at Firemen’s Park in Niagara Falls.
Santiago Gaitan could be excused for thinking this Wednesday’s Niagara Catholic Athletic Association cross country meet at Firemen’s Park in Niagara Falls was no big deal.
After all, the Grade 12 student at Notre Dame was coming off a summer where he represented Canada for the first time. The Niagara Regional Athletics member competed for Canada at the Jamaican Invitational and ended up winning a silver medal in the 3,000 metres.
“It was a small meet, but it was really great to represent my country,” Gaitan said. “It was a fantastic experience and awesome and I will cherish it for the rest of my life.”
The actual competition was among the highlights.
“It was the racing and getting to meet the best athletes in Canada,” he said.
On Wednesday at the NCAA meet, Gaitan and Niagara Regional Athletics teammate Nicholas Young finished the race together and they decided it would be Gaitan who would be credited with the victory.
“From past years, I have always been sort of been ahead of him so I guess he kind of let me keep that going,” Gaitan said. “I’m not sure whether we will do the same next week at zone.
“If we decide to cruise the line together, we will have to decide and, if not, it will be a real race between us two.”
Gaitan credits his training partner with helping him get to the next level.
“In each training session, we each do something better than the other,” he said. “I push him to the max in endurance sessions and he pulls me along in the speed stuff.
“I will be on the floor dying and he will help me get through it.”
Last year at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championships, Gaitan finished a disappointing 80th.
“It was a down year for me and I wasn’t in the best shape,” he said. “Obviously, it was a big letdown for me, but I didn’t give up and I kept grinding.”
That grinding has paid off.
“I just finished second at pre-OFSAA and that’s a good indication of where I am at right now with the other athletes in Ontario,” he said. “It was very motivating.”
He has big goals for OFSAA.
“Obviously I want to win so that’s my first goal, but a medal would also be awesome.”
METE WINS AND RUNS
Alissa Mete didn’t have much time to savour her victory Wednesday in the junior girls division at the Niagara Catholic Athletic Association cross country meet in Niagara Falls.
After the race, she had about 30 minutes to get to Jean Vanier in Welland for her team’s opening game in the Tribune Girls Basketball Tournament.
“My dad is here, so I am going to go and hopefully I can make it in time,” she said, with a laugh. “I hope I will still have some gas left.”
Mete loves a busy sports schedule — she trains with a triathlon club, runs cross country, and plays basketball and lacrosse — and wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I love being involved, I love doing a lot of different sports and it is a big part of my life,” she said. “And I like doing well.”
Last year, the Grade 10 student won the NCAA and Zone 3 midget girls cross country titles, placed second at the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association meet and 23rd at the OFSAA championship.
This spring at the OFSAA track and field championships, Mete was fifth in the 300-metre hurdles, ninth in the 3,000 metres and 15th in the 1,500 metres.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “I’ve been training a lot with my coaches and I want to make them proud and get a better result than last year.
“I got eighth at pre-OFSAA this year and I want to get in the top 10.”
Lauren Macsai was a surprise winner of the senior girls race at the NCAA cross country meet at Firemen’s Park.
“It feels pretty good but I wasn’t really ready for the run,” the Grade 11 student at Lakeshore Catholic said. “I was really tired and weak and I am surprised that I came in first place.”
The Grade 11 student blamed the unseasonably warm weather for the way she felt after the race. She did have a strategy to battle the elements.
“I have this way of taking deep breathes and trying to maintain my pace,” she said.
Last year, Macsai was a member of a Lakeshore Catholic team that made it to OFSAA and she would like to do that again. For her, it’s all about the team and not the individual result.
“I like to carry the team and be with the team,” she said. “I don’t like running as an individual.”
For the third straight year, Blessed Trinity won the team title. Mick and Angelo’s/Johnny Rocco’s Runners of the Meet were presented to Mete and Gaitan.
Following are the top five results and teams from the NCAA tournament held Wednesday at Firemen’s park.
Para: 1. Andrew McIntyre, Saint Michael; 2. Julianne Miszk, Saint Michael; 3. Alex Giancola, Saint Michael.
Midget girls: 1. Ella Robert, Lakeshore Catholic; 2. Ella Duguay, Holy Cross; 3. Emily Haynes, Blessed Trinity; 4. Clea Shufett, Lakeshore Catholic; 5. Emma Bagozzi, Denis Morris.
Midget girls teams: 1. Blessed Trinity (Haynes, Kayla Griffin, Autumn Livermore, Julie Proulx).
Midget boys: 1. Mason Petrucci, St. Francis; 2. Aidan Reynolds, Denis Morris; 3. Reese Arnold, Blessed Trinity; 4. Evan Beach, Blessed Trinity; 5. Matthew Bennett, Saint Paul.
Midget boys teams: 1. Blessed Trinity (Arnold, Beach, Liam Ciardelli, James Lawson); 2. Lakeshore Catholic (Asher Willett, Kyle Mullin, Thomas Mete and Steven Taras); 3. Denis Morris (Reynolds, Carter Gates, Jake Bagozzi and Hunter Horner).
Junior girls: 1. Alissa Mete, Notre Dame; 2. Ryan Greatrix, Saint Paul; 3. Drew Smith, Blessed Trinity; 4. Roxanne Fenart, Saint Michael; 5. Olympia Myers, Blessed Trinity.
Junior girls teams: 1. Blessed Trinity (Smith, Myers, Bianca Faeaci and Makayla Baeuvais); 2. St. Francis (Megan Johnson, Lily Watt, Serena Kelly and Ellika Greaves).
Junior boys: 1. Matthew Roda, Notre Dame; 2. Jack Chios, St. Francis; 3. Johnathon Klauck, Lakeshore Catholic; 4. Frank Adzijevich, Blessed Trinity; 5. Dylan Dumas, Saint Paul.
Junior boys teams: 1. Blessed Trinity (Adzijevich, Nicolas Siena, Damian Erzar and Dylan Pergentile); 2. St. Francis (Chios, Thomas Piller, Maceo Tripodi and Julio Diaz L’hoeste); 3. Notre Dame (Roda, Erik Williston, Juan Reyes and Owen Gallagher).
Senior girls: 1. Lauren Macsai, Lakeshore Catholic; 2. Margaret Taras, Lakeshore Catholic; 3. Olivia Diodati, Saint Paul; 4. Ava Ricker-Singh, Blessed Trinity; 5. Cori Macsai, Lakeshore Catholic.
Senior girls teams: 1. Lakeshore Catholic (the Macsais, Taras and Susan Santillan); 2. Saint Paul (Diodati, Taylor Jamieson-Nicholls, Megan Helmeczi and Anjelaya Fulcher); 3. Blessed Trinity (Ava and Ilena Ricker-Singh, Gina Pieneman and Katie Wilcox).
Senior boys: 1. Santiago Gaitan, Notre Dame; 2. Nicholas Young, St. Francis; 3. Noah Lavoie, Holy Cross; 4. Samuel Nolan, St. Francis; 5. Michael Huber, Blessed Trinity.
Senior boys teams: 1. Blessed Trinity (Huber, Logan Toldi, Cole Arnold and Lucas Celia); 2. St. Francis (Young, Nolan, Aidan Iapicco and Carter Hendriks: 3. Notre Dame Gaitan, Nelson Collee, Graeme Staples and Samuel Csuka).
In addition to primary high school sports sponsors Mick and Angelo’s (https://www.mickandangelos.com) and Johnny Rocco’s (http://www.johnnyroccos.com), BPSN’s coverage of the fall high school cross country season is made possible with the support of the Niagara Olympic Club (https://nocrunners.com).