Monday, October 24, 2011

NC Preview

The National Capital Cross Country Championships are set to go this Thursday at the Hornet's Nest; the final race in preparation for the OFSAA Cross Country Championships on Nov. 5th. As hosts, this year 4 teams and 6 individuals will qualify for OFSAA, making for some exciting races to come.

The 4th will figure in HUGE!!

Cross Country is a team sport! While top runners will battle for individual glory, in many cases, it will be the fourth runner who decides the standings in the team competitions. While the top runners are often spread out with large gaps and few points to pick up by gaining a spot, or two, often it is up to runners 3 and 4, who can have a great race and lower their team's score dramatically.

Midget Girls

The top teams are very similar here with a powerful 1-2 punch and #3 and #4 a couple minutes back. Canterbury won the East with Codrington 1st and Stenman-Fahey 2nd, while Glebe went 1 & 3 in the West (Livingstone and Smith). Canterbury's Macdonell and Heath ran 15:18 and 15:23 at the East, while Glebe's Beale and Barrett were both timed in 15:21. Look for a tight finish between these four atheltes. Glebe also has Robinson in reserve (4th at the Gryphon Open, but forced to walk the West due to injury), but it remains questionable whether or not she be healthy enough to contribute. This race could come right down to the wire, as both teams are projected to score about 56 points. It could well be whichever team gets runner #4 across the line first. Earl of March looks to have a solid hold on third, with Franco Ouest, Bell and Ashbury looking for that final OFSAA spot.

The individual race should come down to a tight battle between Livingstone and Codrington with the Earl's Van Wyk also in the mix. Codrington outkicked Livingstone at the Gryphon Open, but both Livingstone and Smith got the better of her at the HawX meet two weeks ago.

NC Bloggers picks:
1. Glebe (56), 2. Canterbury (56), 3. Earl of March (82).
4th OFSAA spot - Franco Ouest, Bell, or Ashbury
1. Livingstone, 2. Codrington, 3. Van Wyk

Midget Boys

Expect a replay of the East Conference Championships as Beatrice Desloges should be able to run to a comfortable victory. The Louis Riel vs. Lisgar battle should tighten up in the larger field for second spot. The Rebelles posted a 7 point margin of victory over the Lords, but with individual contender Kinahan (Lisgar) putting distance between himself and Riels 1 - 2 combo of Plante and Pribaz, there will not be much left to separate these two teams, as three and four for both teams will only be a few places apart. West Champs Glebe will hope to claim the 4th qualifying spot.

West Champ Arjun Walia (SRB) looked comfortable running to a 20 second victory over Glebe's Bernst, who ran the same time as East Champ Kinahan, albeit in much less agreeable conditions. Consistency seems to be the missing ingredient as Kinahan, Bernst, Denham (Beatrice Desloges) and Slupeiks (Colonel By) have all beaten each other, anywhere ranging from 10 - 45 seconds, at some point in time during the season. Ah the unpredictability of midgets!

NC Bloggers picks:
1. Beatrice Desloges (48), 2. Lisgar (78), 3. Louis Riel (79)
4th OFSAA spot - Glebe or Carine Wilson
1. Walia, 2. Kinahan, 3. Bernst

Junior Girls

Nowhere is the importance of the fourth runner more evident that in the Junior Girls race. While West Champs Earl of March have three with top 10 potential (Neimi, Kavalsar and Kaminski), their #4 (Jin or Pappas) will likely be in the 50's. Most of the top contenders will have their fourth runner back in the 50 - 60's where precious seconds can mean a big jump in finishing place. Borden looks to be the Earl's closest challenger as they have the top #4 runner of the contending teams in So, who placed 28th in the West. Glebe will attempt to repeat the 1, 2, 3 finish from the West Conference, with Beatrice Desloges very close on their heels. Whichever team can get the biggest run out of the fourth and final scorer will ensure a place on the OFSAA starting line.

While Robertson (Brookfield) missed most of the season coming back from injury she was back in time to defend her West Conference title and should be able to repeat the effort at the NC meet. East Champion Scheunert (Garneau) held off West runner up Ridley's (Glebe) late charge at the Pirates Invite for a 1 second victory, while Grimes (Hillcrest) and Farrell (John McCrae) will also look to crack the top three. This race should produce the tightest top 5 finishers of the day.

NC Bloggers picks:
1. Earl of March (82), 2. Sir Robert Borden (85), 3. Glebe / Beatrice Desloges (118)
Darkhorses to watch: Nepean and Garneau
1. Robertson, 2. Scheunert, 3. Ridley

Junior Boys

The talent in the Junior Boys is all up front in individual runners without strong supporting casts, so this race should produce the highest score for any winning team. East Champs Immaculata look to be the team to beat. While they lack a top contender, they find themselves evenly placed, well in the top half of the field. Woodroffe and Glebe knotted at 50 in the West meet, with Woodroffe getting the nod based on the higher 4th place finisher, but the larger field may favour the Gryphons, who had 3 ahead of Woodroffes' tightly bunched 2 - 4.

East Champ David McHugh will look to make it three victories in three weeks on the OFSAA course. McHugh won the HawX Invitational and the East meet over the last two weeks. Defending OFSAA silver medalist, Jarvis (AY Jackson) has been out with injury, but returned to run comfortably behind teammate Howard to reverse the order of finish from last years West and NC meet.

NC Bloggers picks:
1. Immaculata (88), 2. Glebe (112), 3. Woodroffe (115)
4th OFSAA spot - South Carleton or Bell
1. Howard, 2. Jarvis, 3. McHugh

Senior Girls

East Champs Colonel By lost the narrowest of battles last year to Nepean for the NC title, but although they will not score as well this year, look to be the class of the field. Only West Champs Glebe will be close and have a chance to unseat the Cougars. Colonel By's 1-2 punch of Morris / Sims will be countered by Bell's O'Higgins / Klus, and Glebe's Rhead / Derksen. The big difference will be the 3 - 4 runners, with CB having their final scorers around 20th, Glebe's close to the 30's and Bell back near the 50's. Beatrice Desloges with only 30 seconds separating their top 3, but #4 in the high 50's should be have a strong enough squad to challenge Bell and earn a ticket to OFSAA.

Emma Galbriath (Franco Ouest) will look to win her 3rd consecutive gold at the National Capital Meet. She was pushed hard to the line by Rhead (Glebe) for her narrowest victory against NC competition. East Champ Kary (St. Matt) ran unchallenged to win the east and should be able to challenge both Rhead and Galbraith for the top spot on the podium.

NC Bloggers picks:
1. Colonel By (54), 2. Glebe (65), 3. Beatrice Desloges / Bell (112)
Darkhorse to watch - Ashbury
1. Galbraith, 2. Rhead, 3. Kary

Senior Boys

Defending Champs Glebe only lost one scoring runner from last years NC Championship team and have the upfront talent and depth to secure a second consecutive NC title. Glebe placed 7 runners in the top 19 at the West and will likely have all 4 scorers in the top 15 at the NC meet. East Champs Colonel By's trio of Richardson, Saville, and Zhu finished 1 - 2 - 3 in the East, but will have to get a big run from their 4th to beat Nepean for second. Nepean has Donald who will contend for a medal and a 2 - 4 separated by less than 15 seconds that should all crack the top 20.

Defending OFSAA gold medalist Sikubwabo (Glebe) is the class of the field, but the intersting battle will be for the remaining medals. Behre (Woodroffe) looked to have second in the West, but found himself cutting the corner too tightly and ending up on the wrong side of the barricades coming down the finishing stretch. Day's (Holy Trinity) finishing speed carried him past Donald just before the line with Behre, after correcting his mistake a few seconds back. Look for another close finish from these boys to bring the 2011 NC Championships to an exciting close.

NC Bloggers picks:
1. Glebe (31), 2. Nepean (52), 3. Colonel By (65)
4th OFSAA spot - Lisgar or Merivale
1. Sikubwabo, 2. Behre, 3. Day

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