Thursday, October 22, 2009

2009 National Capital Championships Preview

In the mid-1990's Sean Clancy recognized potential in several of his runners. Problem was they ranged from grade 9 through grade 13, and no one team would be all that strong because he lacked depth in each division. Clancy made the decision to move all his runners up to Senior to make one strong team and his decision paid off with an OFSAA silver medal. There are at least three coaches this year who plan to steal a page from Clancy's playbook and although it may not translate into an OFSAA medal, it should certainly make things interesting at the 2009 NCSSAA Cross Country Championships.

Midget Girls
West Champs Bell and West runner-up Sir Robert Borden created some excitement tying with 42 points at the West Conference Champs. Bell has indivdual favorite Samanta Klus and Bridget Irwin (4th) up front and then two more Glatt (18th) and Mason (19th) about 2 minutes back. Borden had 3 girls in the top 7, Adenok (3rd), Filipovich (5th) and Sitka (7th), with a 4th, de Souza (27th) about 2:30 off the front pack. In the larger NC meet, Borden gets the nod based on 3 with top 10 potential. Only 30 seconds seperated Glatt and Mason from de Souza, but almost one minute seperated them from Sitka. In a larger field that should create the points needed for Borden to secure victory. Bell's key to victory will be to get Glatt and Mason as close to Sitka as possible, while Borden's hopes rest with the strength of their front three and de Souza keeping the gap between her and Mason as small as possible. East Champs Gisele Lalonde tightly packs all four runners within a minute , led by Hamel Touchette (8th) and McKenzie (9th), but all four will need to run BIG, if they hope to upset either of the favorites and earn a birth to OFSAA.
NC Blogger's picks:
1. Borden
2. Bell
3. Gisele Lalonde

Individuals to watch: Klus (Bell) and Lindsay Kary (St. Matt's) are the class of the field. Both girls have been within 2 seconds of each other twice this season, with Klus winning both match-ups. Hillary Cooper (Osgoode), Magdeline Sims (Colonel By), Bridget Hayes (Mother Teresa) and Adenok (Borden) should battle it out for the bronze. With Klus and Adenok likely getting team births to OFSAA, it leaves three spots open in the top 5 to individuals, which should make things interesting.
NC Blogger's picks:
1. Klus
2. Kary
3. Hayes

Midget Boys
Glebe, South Carleton and Louis Riel will battle for the two spots available for the Big Dance. Glebe gets the nod up front based on their undefeated record against NC competition this year including beating South at the Gryphon, HawX, and West Conference Champs and victories over Louis Riel at the Pirates and HawX meet. Glebe's has been undefeated in Eastern Ontario with the exception of a small 24 point loss to powerhouse Thousand Island's at the Pirates Meet. Glebe has upfront talent in Foley (4th at West) and two tightly packed runners, Sneyd-Dewar and Freda just over a minute back with #4 Wilson another 1:30 off the pace. South Carleton counters with medal contender McCleery and two others, Olsen and Labelle with top 20 potential, but a long gap back to #4 Helgason. Louis Riel beat South by a narrow margin at the HawX meet, but has since lost their #2 man McDonald. With their team runners placing similar to that of Glebe, they will rely on East Champ Sukunda to score low and hope that Weber and Louis-Seize can stay close to Glebe's Sneyd-Dewar and Freda, and South's Labelle while #4 Way has to get ahead of Wilson and create as large a gap as possible with Helgason in hopes of defeating South.
NC Blogger's picks:
1. Glebe
2. South Carleton
3. Louis Riel

Individuals to watch: We should see a repeat of the West Conference Meet, with Mickey Day (Holy Trinity) the favorite, followed by McCleery, Rubin Kataki (Merivale) and Foley and Sukunda rounding out the top 5. Three of these boys have team qualifying potential so a top 5 finish should guarantee a trip to provincials.
NC Blogger's picks:
1. Day
2. McCleery
3. Kataki

Junior Girls
Here we see the first coach to learn a valuable lesson from Clancy. While Glebe lost two of it's top 4 from last years Midget Girls Championship team, Coach Dillabaugh decided to bump up his Midget's to run with the Juniors. While there were three with top 10 potential in the Midget race, an injury to one and a fourth that would be well back prompted Dillabaugh to pull a Clancy. Borden had handed the Gryphons a pretty solid defeat at the HawX Meet (although Derkson did not run due to injury), but it would have been tight. With these three Midget's running Junior and two returning OFSAA qualifiers, Glebe is the team to beat in the Junior race. Glebe packed all four scorers in the top 13 in the West led by grade 9 Charlene Rhead (3rd) and followed by McCulloch (6th), Derkson (10th) and Loewen (13th). #5 Copeland-Dinan was only 10 seconds back in 15th. That leaves Franco-Ouest and East Champs Lisgar to fight it out for the second spot. Franco's strength lies in that they really only have to score three runners in that #1 Galbraith is more than likely to score a single point. They need strong runs from Heroux and McConnell and #2 Pulfer to be ahead of Lisgar's front running duo of Williams and Van Leeuwen. Lisgar's hopes rest in #3 and 4, Zhao and Karyar keeping the gap between them and Van Leeuwen smaller than the gap between them and Heroux / McConnell.
NC Blogger's picks:
1. Glebe
2. Franco-Ouest
3. Lisgar

Individuals to watch: Don't expect a repeat performance of last year, when Galbraith suffered her first defeat of the season to Jones (Nepean) and Eryuzlu (All Saints). Galbraith is the heavy favorite after winning the West, HawX, TISS and Gryphon Meets in convincing fashion. Jones only barely held off Rhead, while Eryuzlu should be able to keep herself in the running for a medal position. East champ Campeau (Louis Riel) and runner-up Hughes (St. Peter) should be in the mix for a medal as well.
NC Blogger's picks:
1. Galbraith
2. Campeau
3. Jones

Junior Boys
Merivale's Coach Pender is the second coach to play the bump athletes up a category game. Although his motivation is not the OFSAA medal podium, it might be enough to unseat East powerhouses Colonel By and Beatrice Desloges. In three meetings this year only 3 points have seperated CB and BD, Colonel By winning at TISS (108-109) and the HawX (44-44, 4th runners placing 17th and 19th respectively) and BD getting the win at the East Conference Meet (30-32). Both teams have upfront talent with individual medal threats in Saville (CB) and Plante (BD), and while BD has two more with top 10 potential (Chevrette and Smith), it is almost 2 minutes back to their #4 Hayes. CB meanwhile counters with their 2 through 4 (Maillet, Zheng and Shylakhtov) seperated by less than 50 seconds. Merivale's strength is with Palamar, the defending MB champion, and then a crew similar to that of CB, with 2 through 4 (Desgroselliers, Hayter and Buckland) seperated by less than 50 seconds. While Merivale lost by 20 at the HawX Meet to CB and BD, they were without Palamar, who took a knee to the head after getting tripped almost right off the start and did not finish and without Pender's grade 9 weapon Buckland. At the Gryphon Open early in the year, BD and Merivale tied with 56 points, but BD was given the nod based on the 4th runners (21-25), but with Palamar running easy (9th) and again no Buckland. The nod goes to Merivale, but anything can and likely will happen here. If BD can get a big run from Hayes, look out. Otherwise, it will be left to CB and Merivale to duke it out.
NC Blogger's picks:
1. Merivale
2. Colonel By
3. Beatrice Desloges

Individuals to watch: Palamar, Saville and Donald (Nepean) are the odds on favorites for medals, with Palamar likely to defend his title. Best let him do all the work in the West meet, sitting on Palamar for 4500m but couldn't match him over the final 500 as Palamar steadily pulled away. Plante will have his work cut out to break into the medals and will likely get a challenge from AY Jackson's Bursey and South Carleton's Beauvais.
NC Blogger's picks:
1. Palamar
2. Donald
3. Saville

Senior Girls
Colonel By should have had this one sewn up. With their Junior Girls winning bronze at OFSAA last year they were untouchable on paper heading into the season. Then Rachelle Beanlands got invited to a National Team Soccer try-out, causing her to miss the Conference Meet and making her ineligible for the NC meet. Coach Cote's depth will help the Cougars, but will it be enough to hold off West Champs Nepean. Nepean has two strong runners up front (Kemp and Moore) who should battle with Tuck for valuable points and two more about 2:00 - 2:30 back (Burton and van Walraven), while CB relies on Tuck to score low in the single digits, but it's 1:30 back to Winegarden and another 30 seconds to McPherdan and Seale. If Nepean can keep their top 2 close to or ahead of Tuck, it will make it very difficult for CB's #2 through #4 to gain enough points on Burton and van Walraven to win. Sacred Heart should have the depth to hold off Osgoode for the bronze, but neither has the strength to unseat Nepean or CB.
NC Blogger's picks:
1. Nepean
2. Colonel By
3. Sacred Heart

Individuals to watch: Joanna Brown (All Saints) is the defending OFSAA silver medalist and heavily favoured to repeat as the NC Champion. Although she did not seem as dominante as she has in the past she was relaxed and never really pushed in winning the West Conference title. Arrieta (Mother Teresa) and Kemp will battle with Hillcrest's Slinn and Garneau's Kanz for the other two medals.
NC Blogger's picks:
1. Brown
2. Slinn
3, Kanz

Senior Boys
Merivale gets the nod in the Senior race after having placed 5 in the top 15 at the West Meet led by Milliken (3rd) and Deek (4th). Meng (9th), Hutton (13th) and Kataki (15th) round out a Merivale squad who has been unbeaten this year against NC competition and are the defending NC Champs; only losing one scorer from last years squad. After that though, things get really interesting. Glebe had been the only team to come close to Merivale, but ran very poorly at the West Meet placing 4th behind Borden and Nepean. Louis Riel came up as a bit of a surprise to win the East. After losing Souleiman due to transfer, they didn't seem to miss a beat and captured the East with a convincing win over Hillcrest (40-76), led by Diaby (4th) and strong runs from Lefebvre (8th) and Viau (9th). Former Midget Champion Skupek-Martin (19th) rounds out the squad who could threaten for an OFSAA spot if he finds his form. Coach d'Arras is the final coach to try to bolster his squad with younger runners as he bumped up top junior Smith, who led all Borden runners in the West (6th), and had strong support from Bhatla (8th) with Omen (22) and Arnott (24) about a minute back. Glebe defeated a Smith-less Borden by 50 at the HawX meet only a week ago, while missing two of their top 4 (Wilson and Carranco), but then lost at the conference by 11 with them in the line up. Hooey (5th in West) and Wilson usually make a strong 1-2 punch that can only be matched by Merivale's Milliken and Deek, with Freda and Carranco about a minute back. This is eeriely familiar to Borden's team, so it should make for an exciting finish to the NC XC season. Thrown into this mix is Nepean who despite not having the up front talent, packs 5 runners within 45 seconds, Riordan (10th), Schroeder (16th), Sneeden (18th), McTaggart (20th) and Davis (21st). All are likely to place in between Borden's and Glebe's top 2 and three-four.
NC Blogger's picks:
1. Merivale
2. Glebe
3. Louis Riel

Individuals to watch: The NC meet will mark the first meeting of the season for East champ Towle (Ottawa Tech) and West Champ Day (Holy Trinity). Towle has yet to be pushed this year, winning all his races in convincing fashion. Canterbury's Chris Galley has top three potential and will likely battle with Colwell (West Carleton) and Holstead (Colonel By) for the bronze. As none of these runners have a team likely to qualify it will be a podium finish, or miss the trip to Woodbridge for OFSAA.
NC Blogger's picks:
1. Towle
2. Day
3. Galley

NC Course Maps
** please note correction to course maps.
JG should be: START - B - C - A - B - D - F - FINISH (A is missing on map)
2009 XC Season results page, click here!

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