By Dan Plouffe
The Colonel By Cougars displayed “team running” at its best to comfortably win the novice boys’ race and deprive Glebe of a clean sweep across all divisions at the NCSSAA cross-country running championships on Oct. 24 at Hornets Nest.
Leading the Cougars were Bhumi Loganathan and Sebastien Lacasse, who slowly but surely passed many runners and finished with a good kick to secure 4th and 5th place within 1 second of each other.
When he was lagging a bit behind earlier in the race, Loganathan was thinking, “‘My mom would be so happy if I made it to OFSAA, so I’ve gotta push this,’ – that kept going through my head again and again,” recounts Loganathan, whose twin brother is also on the team. “OFSAA is a big thing for me, and it’ll be even more fun to go with my team.”
Following one after the other in 19th, 20th and 21st were Aidan Ng-A-Fook, Bhanu Loganathan and Nicholas Cholmsky (who decided to keep his classic cross-country badge of honour in place when told that he’d finished the race with a chunk of burrs in his hair).
Having runners of similar abilities is a great weapon because “it helps us keep a constant score,” signals Lacasse, noting that the city finals scene of his teammates pushing each other to the finish was effectively a replay of Cougars team practices.
“It’s a good feeling” to win the city title, adds Lacasse, who can’t recall winning a championship in anything before cross-country running, though his 3 siblings have earned their share of prizes in soccer and volleyball.
John McCrae’s Nolan Legare was the class of the novice boys’ field, running to victory in a time of 14:59.4 over the 4.23 km Hornets Nest course.
“It was pretty solid the whole time,” recounts Legare, who credits his fitness to playing high-level soccer.
“I get a lot of good running training from that,” adds the Ottawa South United Force fullback/winger. “But they both help each other. There’s a lot of endurance needed for soccer, so that helps me for this, but this also helps me gain more endurance for soccer, so it’s a two-way thing.”
Legare plays in the Ontario Player Development League, which means most days are taken up by soccer. His team recently finished as runner-up in the under-14 east division of the province’s top youth high-performance league this season, but that hasn’t kept him from running at school whenever the opportunity is available.
After leading the national capital race pretty much start-to-finish, Legare says he’s “very excited” to attend OFSAA.
“It’s obviously a first for me, but I hope to do well there,” he adds.
Legare, silver medallist Adrijan Vrankovic, bronze medallist Parker Kennedy, St. Joseph’s Matias Del Rio Reategui and Ashbury’s Danial Gillan all squeezed into the top-7 to earn the individual OFSAA berths in the field of 88 novice boys.
Paul-Desmarais’ Julian Vivas-Moncado, Eric Ledain, Mihai Jalbu and Tristan Watt earned the second OFSAA team berth, followed closely by Mother Teresa, Immaculata and John McCrae.
Find more coverage of the 2019 NCSSAA XC Championships via: https://sportsottawa.com/2019/10/29/2019-ncssaa-xc-championships-coverage/