On 25 October, MGCI’s Cross Country Team competed in their final meet of the season, the City Championships at Centennial Park. To qualify for TDSB’s biggest race, runners had to be on one of the top four teams, or one of the next eight fastest individuals in their category at the South-West Regional Championships. The South-West Regional Championships were held on 18 October, and while none of Garneau’s teams qualified for City Championships, two runners, Jenna Wong and Varun Venkataramanan qualified as individuals.

Photo: Jenna Wong

Jenna and Varun ran 5 km and 7 km in their respective races, on a course that took them through forests, grass fields, and a tall ski hill. The weather wasn’t on their side, as they braved temperatures below 4ºC with winds around 50-60 km/h. This year, TDSB would only send half the number of runners that they sent last year to the Provincial Cross Country Championships (OFSAA); only the top three teams and five fastest individuals would move on. Jenna and Varun both placed in the top quarter for their events, but unfortunately could not earn qualifying spots. When asked about her race, Jenna said, “The weather wasn’t the greatest and I’m a little disappointed in my performance, but I had a great time in my final high school cross country season.” All the runners on the team would like to thank the coaches for their extensive time and effort.

This year’s team was coached by Mr. Labayen, Ms. Elliott, and Mrs. McIsaac. They practiced three times a week in the mornings, doing a mixture of distance runs (distances greater than 5 km), tempo runs, and interval workouts. Some of the more competitive runners practiced on their own time as well. All runners participated in two mini-meets and regionals, hoping to qualify for the City Championships. Mr. Labayen expressed his hope for a longer training season, saying, “The season is too short and the athletes don’t really have time to get into race shape.  You have to come into the season ready to race on the first day of school.” However all the coaches said they were very proud of the athletes and hope they can build on this year’s success.

Photo courtesy of: Jenna Wong

Jenna Wong and Varun Venkataramanan competed at TDSB’s Cross Country City Championships on 25 October 2016. Photo: Jenna Wong.