A dedicated group of runners at Elmira District Secondary School may not have set any records this year, but they certainly had fun hitting the trails together.
The EDSS cross-country team just finished up their season last week after competing in five different meets, with a number of runners placing in the top 10 of their heat.
“Even if they’re not running in the top of their heats they’re definitely enjoying it and they’re still having personal bests and good finishes,” said coach Brandon Hempel.
Made up of 21 runners, the team competed at Shades Mills Conservation, Laurel Creek Conservation, the Waterloo District Invitational meet, WCSSAA, and CWOSAA.
To qualify for CWOSSA they had to have gone to 16 practices and at least one meet prior.
“It’s been a good year. Everyone’s been coming out to our meets. We haven’t had too much in the way of bad attendance going on. It’s been nice for us in that regard to have a whole team with us when we got to the meets. They’ve been a really good group in terms of their camaraderie and their sportsmanship, whether it’s them interacting with one another or they’re interacting with members of other teams. They’re always really pleasant, they’re always really positive, they’re always very encouraging,” Hempel said.They had a bunch of new students join the team this year, with about three quarters of them girls, and a quarter boys. They had runners in every grade except Grade 12 girls.
“The season’s gone really well. Most of them coming in they were either a returning athlete or they had been coaxed into by a friend who had done it last year, a couple people coming out on their own just out of interest,” Hempel said.
He said some students joined because they were looking for an independent activity to challenge themselves, or for the sake of general fitness.
Many of their runners consistently finished in the top 50 per cent of their heats, with a couple notable runners. None of the runners placed high enough to compete at OFSAA in Collingwood this coming weekend, although John Wang finished in 10th, just shy of qualifying.
Hannah Gramlow is a midget runner who placed in the top 10 in three of her four races. Megan Taylor is a junior runner who had a top 10 finish at WCSSAA. Wang is a junior runner with top 10 finishes in all of his races. The junior girls team came in second overall at WCSSAA.
“All of our racers showed great heart and always gave it their all through each and every race. We have had an exciting season and a great team spirit throughout. Our members are always there to cheer one another on and we have really grown as a group throughout the season,” Hempel said.