Pet dog & family serve as pandemic training partners to boost U16 girls’ team champ

Louise Stonham (left). Photo: Dan Plouffe

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By Elio Elia

Louise Stonham won the final heat of the under-16 girls’ competition to cement the team title for the Ottawa Lions Red crew during the first event of the day at the Capital XC Challenge.

Getting to run in a team environment had been nothing more than a dream for Stonham through most of the pandemic.

“I trained all summer, with myself and with my dog,” smiles the Arnprior District High School student. “Then the last two weeks I trained with the Lions, but I always train with my family, so COVID did not really change things for me.”

After getting a taste of OFSAA last fall, Stonham was keen to race XC again this season.

“I was super happy about this race,” signals the decorated Spartan Kids racing competitor. “I thought everything was going to be cancelled and I would not have the race season I wanted.”

After edging a Brockville challenger to win her heat in a sprint finish, Stonham was satisfied with her race performance.

“I felt I could have gone up the last hill faster, but other than that I did pretty good,” notes Stonham, who now plans to do more sprint and speed interval training. “It felt good to come 1st.”

Brockville’s Aryka Bennett won the U16 girls’ 4 km race in 16 minutes, 19 seconds. Heat 3 winner Jocelyn Giannotti (Lions Black) was 2nd overall and Nepean’s Clara Hegan was 3rd. Heat 1 winner Samantha Bean, Amelia Van Brabant and Jaime Harrington rounded out the scoring runners for Lions Red in the field of 37.

Lion Laila Lebel tops U12 race

The races for the under-12 division took place a day earlier on Friday evening. Winning the 3 km girls’ race was the Lions’ Laila Lebel in 13:58. Riley Daniels (unattached) and Zoe Girouard (Lions) rounded out the podium, while Catalina Estevez (Lions) won the second heat and finished 5th overall out of 18 runners.

Read more coverage on the 2020 Capital XC Challenge via:

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