Unusual junior boys race a product of flat course, cold weather

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Luke Allan runs in front of a pack of junior boys at the NCSSAA cross-country championships. Photo: Dan Plouffe.

See SportsOttawa.com’s Facebook page for a full album of photos from this race.

By Charlie Pinkerton

The factors that presented the makings of a wonky race day all piled into the junior boys city championship.

Frigid temperatures, a relatively flat Walter Baker Park trail (aside from a single significant climb for the junior boys) and a start to the race which saw no clear frontrunner for more than a kilometre were each out of the norm of what NCSSAA runners had faced this year.

First-place finisher Luke Allan of Ashbury College still managed to finish with a comfortable seven second victory. He explained to the Ottawa Sportspage how he managed his racing strategy.

“At the start my original plan was to go behind the leading runner and probably break away from them about three-quarters of the way through the race,” Allan said. “But then what ended up happening was there was a big group of people, which was not really good because then there’s all these possibilities of people sticking with you if you break. Since there was such a big pack I decided to go earlier and try to lengthen out the big group of people.”

Allan placed 3rd in his age group at the city championships last year, two spots behind this year’s 3nd place finisher Cameron Porter of Sir Robert Borden, and this year’s 14th place finisher, Owen Pensom of Glebe Collegiate.

Allan’s been unstoppable in National Capital races this year. He won the gold medal at the Gryphon Open and the NCSSAA East Conference Championships.

Allan finished 28th last year at the OFSAA cross-country championships.

“I’m trying to maybe break top 20, that would be the goal for me,” he said about this year’s high school provincial championships.

Glebe’s junior boys team won the division’s gold medal. Their team’s typical 3rd and 4th runners swapped with their usual 1st and 2nd place finishers. Keito Newman came 4th, Robin Mason came 6th, Cole Elliot finished 7th and Sebastian Cino placed 13th to give the Gryphons a winning score of 30. Pensom qualified in the team’s fifth OFSAA spot in 14th place.

John McCrae claimed the other spot at the OFSAA championships by placing 2nd in the team competition with a score of 100. Ryan May (9), Andrew Taylor (26), Owen Brooks (27), Owen May (38) and Jacob Devadason (75) were John McCrae’s qualifying runners.

Louis-Riel’s Maxime Filion (2), Porter, Franco-Ouest’s Miguel Alvarez (5) and Merivale’s Jack Hayden (8) also qualified for the OFSAA finals as individual racers.

Find more coverage of the 2018 NCSSAA XC Championships via: https://sportsottawa.com/2018/10/26/glebe-gryphons-win-all-six-division-titles-at-the-city-high-school-cross-country-championships/

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