We had 45 athletes compete in the 2017 AO Cross Country Championships. This was our first year having a Master’s team. Congratulations Nancy, Jill, and Lucy on a great race! In the Bantam Girls race we fielded 9 athletes, 7 of them at the lower level of the age group (grade 7’s and a 6th grader as well) and the team successfully secured a silver medal! The Bantam Boys race was no less spectacular; Mark and Jack ran very strong races against some absolutely lightning fast competitors and finished 12 and 14 respectively. Kinnon, again another under ager, had a strong race! Our Midget girls are fierce competitors and their team secured a silver medal. Sophia, Laura, Julia and Lauren came in 10, 11, 13 and 22 respectively. The Midget boys ran strong and came in 6th as a team! Many of the boys had their best races of the season! Congratulations to Ben on his 4th place finish! The youth boys and girls teams both came in 7th place. Congratulations to Peter on his 8th place finish. Andres had a good run in the Junior race! Congratulations to all of the runners for competitive races in tough conditions. Next up, getting ready for Nationals Nov 25th.
Fantastic club results at OFSAA in Petawawa.
Roman dominated the midget boys race for a well deserved win. It cannot be overstated how hard it is to win ofsaa. Congrats to Roman.
The junior girls were next with extraordinary results from Julia and Laura with 7th and 10th place finishes. Both girls beat girls who were dominant in the GTA all of last year!
Ben placed 4th in Junior boys and looked very comfortable running with the lead pack. Lots more to come from Ben!
In Senior boys, Daniel came through yet again with a great race placing 25th, and beating all 3 TDSB rivals who beat him at the City final.
All the other club members had solid races, but the reality of ofsaa is that you can run very well and still place 70th!
Ofsaa is often referred to as one of the top 3 high school races in North America, and for good reason.
On to AO and Nationals!
We are at the peak of our second cross country season as Toronto West Athletics! XC training started in August with the groups building strength and endurance. Also in August, we ran our second cross country summer camp that had a huge year over year growth thanks to the hard work and marketing savvy of our camp director, Andres Medina. Andres and Peter Minbashian demonstrated leadership, organizing and running an excellent camp which resulted in a number of campers joining our Minor Track Association (MTA) group. Speaking of growing, we now have over 100 registered members (101)! Also, we have started a grassroots Masters program, come join us! We hope to have at least one Master’s team at the Athletics Ontario (AO) Cross Country Championships on November 12th.
Our coaches and athletes have been working hard and have produced excellent results and below are some of the highlights. Over the coming weeks we look forward to watching our athletes compete at OFSAA, AO XC Championships, and Nationals.
In late October, our MTA aged athletes (Grades 8 and under) competed in many city championships and the MTA Provincials. The young athletes raced with confidence and skill. For Coach Jim, it was great to stand by the course and watch people work their way into their races, run strong mid race and finish with ferocious sprints. In talking to athletes Coach Jim asks them where they finished the previous year and from these conversations it allows him one way to measure success. One athlete who shall remain unnamed improved over 100 places and finished in the top ten. Two other athletes who did not compete at all last year ran superb comeback races. Another runner was bowled over by the pack in the first 100 metres, got up in last place and raced back up through the entire pack of 140 athletes to finish 6th. As a club having multiple runners finish in the top ten (Kayla, Sofia B, Caitlin, Clare, Sana, Jack, Kinnon) in the various city races (which are some of the most competitive elementary races in North America) is a testament to the power of TWA within the GTA. Thanks for representing us in such a positive manner.
The MTA XC Provincial Championships were a few days after cities and a small but mighty contingent of TWA athletes travelled to Pickering to race in driving rain and cold temperatures on a very slippery course. Our athletes, many of them some of our newest members, persevered and made us proud!
High School Update
We had 35 athletes compete at their high school regional championship (TDCAA, ROPSSAA, TDSC City XC, CISAA) for a coveted position at OFSAA and 23 athletes are OFSAA bound with many just missing the mark. Don’t miss the pictures on Facebook. Congratulations to the following athletes on their podium finishes (Roman 1st TDCAA Midget, Sophia L 1st TDCAA Midget, Hannah F 2nd TDCAA Midget, Aiden 3rd TDSB Midget, Julia 1st TDSB Junior, Laura P 2nd TDSB Junior, Isabel 3rd TDCAA Junior, Lauren J 1st ROPSSAA Junior, Ben 1st ROPSSAA Junior, Peter M 2nd TDCAA Senior). We look forward to watching our 23 athletes compete tomorrow at OFSAA. Watch here live.
We follow our university athletes with interest and pride. Congratulations to Ehab who was named Rookie of the Year at Iona XC. He came 8th at Regional Championships with a time of 25:40 in the 8K. Jake C continues his comeback with an impressive 3rd place at the Brock XC invite, 23:03. Jake has now been selected to the U of T team to compete at U-sports XC Championships in Victoria. Alex L, University of Maryland, finished 12th at the Big 10 XC championship. Congratulations to Ben C, Western, for his win in the 2017 Bill Salter Western International and for doing a ton of leading in the men’s OUA XC Championships securing a 9th place finish. Alex and Ehab will be racing in their regional championships looking to qualify for NCAA Championships.
We will continue to post updates and highlights on social media.
The winter has come and gone and suddenly it is Spring and we are on the track. One of my recurring themes to my group is how quickly the weeks pass and once again we are facing the main racing season of May and June.
Did you do all that you wanted over the winter months? If not, you can’t really make it all up in the next two months. Our sport rewards consistency over the whole year, and it is the rare athlete who can make up for missed training by training harder in these next two months. But for those who have been consistent over the last few months, the rewards are within reach!
Now the focus must be on racing speeds. Times in practice do matter, so listen to your coach as they tell you what speed the intervals are to be run in.
Work on even pacing. A 400 that is intended to be run in 70 seconds needs to be run 35,35, and not 33,37.
I will write more on this next month, but as the racing season starts, set your goals and go after them!
As we close out 2016 and turn to 2017 several thoughts come to mind. First of all, we are happy with and proud of our first year as a new club. We set out to create a new middle distance club for the west end of the GTA offering a high standard of coaching and competitive opportunity, and we feel our vision has come true so far. But this is just the beginning, and 2017 beckons with a new set of goals and challenges.
Our sport is relentless. Training and improvement is a 12 month process (with planned breaks) and last years success does not guarantee this years’ results. Even Melissa Bishop and Andre deGrasse cannot coast this year and expect to be right where they finished off last year.
A U.S. Olympian once said that he loved running because there was no hiding or excuses in running-the guy that works the hardest usually wins. I often allude to that statement myself in a slightly different way; that unlike rep hockey or soccer, no coach is cutting a deserving athlete for subjective reasons; if a runner who was previously far behind his teammates improves and wins big races, no one suggests that he or she shouldn’t have won. Just the opposite, we congratulate the athlete and the coach for a great job.
This note is aimed primarily at our older athletes. I will never suggest that the youngest kids have to work harder. I just want them to learn to enjoy running and to come to learn that training harder is fun on their own. But for the older athletes, the reality is that a gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) nudge is needed!
I mentioned to my own group that this year’s senior OFSAA cross country champions, Martha MacDonald and Andrew Alexander started 2016 without any certainty that they would be this year’s champion. Neither of them would have been considered the favourite. But what both of them had done was to achieve a steady improvement over the past couple of years leading up to a big breakthrough this year. And I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that both of them increased their training significantly in order to achieve this breakthrough.
We can do the same, but it starts with the commitment to train harder and smarter. Its really up to you the athlete!
Happy New Year to all, and in particular thank you to the Club Executive for all your hard work this past year.
In the running world Sept.1 or Labour Day is really our new year’s day. It is the official start of cross country season and the start of all the plans, hopes and dreams for the coming year-both cross country and track.
And just like on New Year’s Day we often make promises about how much harder we are going to train and compete. The question is, are we going to follow up on our resolutions or let them slip away?
Following the New Year’s Day analogy, its better to make reasonable and achievable goals rather than extreme ones. If you ran 4 times a week last year-set a goal of 5. If your long run was 8k-set a goal of 10. For the older kids, lets run 80k a week up from 60.
But most important is the promise to yourself to train more consistently and not be sidetracked by other matters, including school! There is a large body of evidence that elite athletes are usually good students because they learn to manage their time efficiently.
My group is sick of hearing me say this, but I will say it again to the larger group; a school assignment is no excuse for missing practice! Practice must be put on the calendar as a non optional event. Eat, sleep, run, school, Each one is every bit as important as the other.
By now some of you might be thinking, “why is he sounding so hard on this? Surely he can’t really expect high school kids and younger to be so serious about sport.”
My only response is, Penny Oleksiak seemed to manage it all pretty well at age 16 ! We can too.
I read a great preview of the U.S. women’s 1500m Olympic Trials today and one fact jumped out at me- all the big stars are 27-31 and even older.
The two leading Americans are Jenny Simpson (29) and Shannon Rowbury (31). They are both ranked in the top 10 in the world are are medal threats at the Olympics. They also both ran their best times just last year, which is at least 10 years or more since they graduated from high school.
Now, both of them were big college stars, and in fact Jenny Simpson was a high school star, but my main point is that here they are, running their best times all these years after high school and university.
As I have written before, this is a perfect example of taking the big picture approach. Each year they get a little stronger and a little faster, and are able to train just a bit harder than the year before. As good as they were in university, they are now much better.
The same example exists in Canada. Our best women runner is Melissa Bishop, who is 27 or 28 this year. Melissa was a very good university runner from Windsor, but no where near world class. She kept running because she loves it, and was following her dream, and last year ended up 2nd in the world at 800m!
So the lesson is clear- there is no urgency to being your very best. Take the long road, enjoy training and racing and see what happens!
The first races of the Spring have taken place and I am hearing some concern from athletes about who is beating whom, and whether or not they will qualify for the City finals in elementary school or metro finals for high school.
First and foremost, your main competition should be with yourself! Aim to improve your best times and don’t worry about the other kids.
Whatever your time in your favourite event is now, think of how good it will be if you improve 2-4 seconds every year for the next several years! Remember, we are in this sport for the long haul. And some people improve at different rates than others. When my daughter Kate was in grade 9, the girl that won the OFSAA 800 was so impressive that I did not think my daughter would ever beat her. (and I am an optimist!) But the very next year my daughter did beat her! More importantly, my daughter continued to improve over the years and enjoyed 8 years of success and satisfaction from running right through university.
That is what I hope for all of you.
And a small note to parents; be careful to not put too much pressure on your child. Even a good faith comment like “I thought you would run faster today ” can sting, and make your child worry that they are letting you down.
Good luck in your next race!