By Charlie Pinkerton
It’s become an expectation that the Glebe Collegiate Gryphons will win the city’s high school cross-country championships – but to sweep all six divisions is something Glebe’s head coach Kirk Dillabaugh hasn’t seen before.
Under Dillabaugh’s coaching, the Gryphons have now won nine straight overall aggregate titles at the NCSSAA cross-country championships. Last year his Gryphons squad won team titles in four of six races.
“I’d give them a Level 4 – they exceeded expectations,” Dillabaugh said of his team’s performance. “Six for six is outstanding. I figured we would win five of them but the sixth one was a big ask.”
The two schools with the lowest team score in each division (calculated by adding their top 4 runners’ placings) qualified five runners for the Nov. 3 OFSAA cross-country championships in Dundas, Ont. The top 5 individual racers who were not already qualified as part of a team also earned OFSAA championship berths.
Glebe’s six teams will compete at OFSAA.
The team with the top score of the day was Glebe’s junior girls. They swept the podium and added a 15th place finish from their fourth runner for a total team score of just 21.
“That’s the thing that’s great about having a deep team,” Dillabaugh said. “On any given day someone can step up and make a difference for your team.”
“We have a really enthusiastic coach,” said Anna S. Heffernan-Wilker, the team’s 2nd place finisher in the junior girls division. “He gets everybody out so we have a really big team and he is really good at coaching so we have good workouts.”
“I just love going to practice every day so I’m always excited to go just because it’s so fun every time,” said Ivy Bialowas, the junior girls champion.
“(Dillabaugh) is always encouraging us, so even when we’re at our lowest point he builds us back up,” Zoe Gardiner, the race’s 3rd place finisher said.
Find photos from the races on SportsOttawa.com’s Facebook page and read full Ottawa Sportspage recaps of each race here: