Georgetown District High School coach Lisa Laba wasn’t quite sure what she had with her novice girls’ cross-country team.
While she was encouraged by the turnout – nine novice girls were the most runners they’d had in years – she didn't know if they could hold their own against athletes who trained specifically for track and cross-country.
It was an athletic group who excelled in other areas – soccer, volleyball, lacrosse – but running was a means of training, not their primary sport.
She saw their potential at the first meet of the season when the team claimed the novice girls’ division by a wide margin.
They kept that up at last week’s Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference cross-country championship at Hilton Falls Conservation Area in Milton. Georgetown placed four runners in the top 20 to claim the division title.
“That’s what they’ve been doing all season,” Laba said. “It’s pretty impressive to be able to have those results consistently.”
Led by Katelyn Ruch’s sixth-place finish, Georgetown finished with 43 points, 31 ahead of Burlington’s Notre Dame. The 87s’ Ady Chatelain also cracked the top 10, placing ninth, while Annabelle Eskra was 11th and Sarah Nickson was 17th.
The victory qualified Georgetown for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championship Saturday in Etobicoke. Brook Marsella, who finished 32nd at GHAC, will be Georgetown’s alternate.
The team recently competed in the Birchmount Invitational on the same Etobicoke course where OFSAA will be held. With many of the province’s top teams competing, Georgetown finished third.
“It was a really good, competitive race and we’re really glad we got into that meet to get a look at the course,” Laba said.
Christ the King’s Daniella Viduka finished third in the novice girls’ race, finishing the four-kilometre course in 17 minutes and 43 seconds to earn one of the five individual qualifying spots for OFSAA.
The Jaguars will also have two representatives in the senior girls’ race. Charli Borack finished fourth in the senior girls’ GHAC race, while teammate Miranda Singh-Biggs claimed the last individual spot with a seventh-place finish.
Georgetown also had three qualifiers in the para girls’ division. Ziva Calder was third, Rheilin McPhee was fourth and Jorja Padt was fifth.