Holy Trinity's Mickey Day won the senior boys' race by just under a minute at the national capital high school cross-country running championships on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at Mooney's Bay, while his younger brother won the midget boys' event earlier the same day. Photo: Dan Plouffe
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By Dan Plouffe
Holy Trinity’s Mickey Day completed a unique double when he ran to victory in the senior boys’ event, bursting away from his challengers after the second loop of the hill to win the 7 km race by just under a minute in 21:41.
Not only was it the second win of the day for his family – Owen Day won the midget boys’ event earlier – but it was the second time his clan turned that trick. Three years ago, Mickey earned the midget crown as a Grade 9, while older brother Kieran captured the senior boys’ crown in his Grade 12 year.
“We completed what we wanted to do,” smiles Mickey, who was proud to celebrate the fulfillment of what’s become a family tradition of excellence. “It was a good moment.”
Along with their father, the three brothers sometimes run together in the woods near their house, although Mickey and Kieran are the more frequent running pair since their gap in age isn’t as significant since they are older.
“We probably should start bringing (Owen) along now,” says Mickey, who was thrilled to watch his younger sibling dominate the midget event. “He trains a lot harder than my older brother or I had at that age. I’m expecting good things from him this year.
“He’s got two older brothers, so he’s got to try to go after us with everything he’s got.”
Mickey, who would now like to chase a top-10 finish at OFSAA, achieved the goal he’d set by winning the race. He laments, however, that Ottawa Lions training partner and good friend Alex Berhe wasn’t there to challenge him for the title. The pair were always side-by-side in races, but last year’s national capital silver medalist Berhe wasn’t able to compete since his Woodroffe school did not enter a team due to the teachers’ labour dispute.
“He’s really fast, and a great guy. He’s very fun to run with,” Mickey highlights. “Him and his coach came to visit and watch the race, so that was nice.”
The silver and bronze medalists were also affected by the labour conflict. A.Y. Jackson athletes Brendon Howard and Alec Jarvis had moved into training programs for cross-country skiing and triathlon respectively for a two-week period before their fall season was resurrected when parents stepped up to coach the team.
“A big thanks to our parents,” emphasizes Jarvis. “They were really great for helping us out.”
It would have been difficult to find anyone carrying a bigger smile at the meet than fourth-place finisher Farah Abdulkarim. The Gloucester athlete came from way back in around 30th place for the first half of the race to track down 2012 OFSAA track double-silver medalist Lucas Trapeau on the home stretch and claim the final individual berth for provincials.
Abdulkarim – who missed out on OFSAAs last year due to a broken toe during cross-country and being grounded during track when his average dropped from 88 to 84 – was still just as radiant as he replayed the race for teammates nearly a half-hour later.
“The last 30 metres, I just smiled the whole time,” recounts the Grade 11 student. “I don’t know where I got that energy, but I was just smiling. I looked back and I was just in pure joy.
“I don’t even know what I sounded like, but I just screamed, and these guys put up their hand and I slapped it. It was the happiest moment.”
It was a similar feeling for the Nepean senior boys, who carried the distinction of being the only group that managed to unseat Glebe for the top spot in any team competition.
It was bound to be a tight race for the team crown as Nepean and Glebe runners occupied all but one finishing spot between 21st and 29th place, and wound up with matching 69-point totals.
Nepean’s #4 and #5 runners, Aidan Roszak and Peter Silins, provided the needed tiebreaker by placing 24th and 25th, just ahead of Glebe’s Alex Kerzner and Isaac Freda.
Each team will head to OFSAA, with Jordan McTaggart, Kieran Wilson and Jake Gaudet of Nepean and Colin Foley, Nicholas Rupar and Nick Harrison leading the charge.
For the Nepean boys, it was a special victory they got to share with a larger-than-usual group. Without golf, volleyball or soccer teams entered due to the teachers’ labour conflict, the Nepean boys flocked to the one sports option available this fall and put together what was likely the largest cross-country team in school history.
“There were so many of us,” highlights Wilson, who was delighted with the result despite his own cramp-hampered individual result. “We were a pack of wolves. We were great.”