By Dan Plouffe
With all five of its team members in before any other school had more than one runner of their own, the Glebe Gryphons rode to a decisive victory in the junior boys’ competition at the NCSSAA cross-country championships on Oct. 24.
Toby Welburn, Oliver Waddington, Eric Weber, Nathan Veysey and Thomas Fairhead all finished the 5.38 km Hornets Nest course within 37.5 seconds of one another.
“It’s nice to be able to run next to someone. It’s motivating,” indicates Welburn, who’d used Waddington as a reference point for his pacing throughout the race. If you have someone who’s a bit faster than you, then you can pack with them and that will push you to go faster by trying to stay with them. Then you’ve just got to pass them at the end.”
Glebe’s #4 runner en route to a 10th-place team finish at OFSAA 2018, Welburn moved up the ranks to lead the Gryphons in 4th overall at the 2019 cities.
“We’re really good friends. There’s definitely some competition, but we don’t let it like ruin our friendship,” adds Welburn, whose stylish – and effective – front roll over the hay bale obstacle was unmatched by teammates and competitors alike.
“I was going to do a step-over, but then I just did a roll instead because I thought that would be faster,” smiles Welburn, who’d practiced the manoeuvre a few times before busting it out in competition.
John McCrae’s Ethan Sendybyl, Lucas Richardson, Owen Brooks, William Ross and Trevor Tanigouchi grabbed the second OFSAA team berth ahead of Nepean.
Chasing training partner, and older brother, key for gold-medallist Meredith
A 400-metre track specialist, Yannick Meredith took the lead with about a track lap left to go in the race to out-duel Ottawa Lions Track-and-Field Club training partner Kyle Porter for the win in 18:47.30. Both the De La Salle and Sir Robert Borden athletes finished over 40 seconds ahead of anyone else.
“Kyle is a good pacer, and a fast guy who probably challenges me the most,” Meredith highlights. “I just wanted to stick with him and have a 1v1 situation.”
Before Meredith ever laced ’em up for a race, he watched his older brother win his share of running medals, including OFSAA XC silver in 2016.
“Once I saw my brother was good at track, I thought, ‘Oh, maybe I’ll be good,'” recounts last year’s OFSAA XC midget boys’ bronze medallist. “I started getting better, and now I want to beat him at everything.”
The younger Meredith acknowledges that he’s still got some catching up to do in the sibling battle.
“Soon we’ll be training partners again, so that’ll be fun,” notes Meredith, underlining that their friendly rivalry is really about pushing each other to be better. “We’re close, so we help each other out.”
Bronze medallist Tristan Trudel of Béatrice-Desloges, South Carleton’s Russell Niedre and St. Paul’s Zachary Sikka claimed the final OFSAA individual qualifying positions out of the field of 106.
Find more coverage of the 2019 NCSSAA XC Championships via: https://sportsottawa.com/2019/10/29/2019-ncssaa-xc-championships-coverage/