Athletics Review: October 31, 2011

Cross-Country
Last week, the pinnacle event of the cross-country season took place. Over 350 runners took part in the Island Championships, which were held at Beaver Lake. The weather was cool and damp, and the course was in perfect running condition. SMUS had been preparing for this event for weeks, and they felt ready to put their best effort in, no matter what obstacles were thrown at them on the day. In all, SMUS would have 40 runners compete on the day.

The girls race was first. Off the start line, it appeared that Alexis Thind, Sarah Taylor, and Stephanie Wong-Harrison had excellent starts, but many SMUS girls were not far behind. Over the duration of the 4k race, it was Jackie McKay who was the surprise of the race, as she surged ahead to be the first SMUS girl for much of the race. In the end, SMUS had a solid performance from all the girls, and a 7th place finish was a satisfying result for a team that clearly showed improvement and determination on the final day.

The SMUS team (top five runners out of 165) were as follows:

  • Stephanie Wong-Harrison – 45th
  • Sarah Taylor – 48th
  • Alexis Thind – 51st
  • Jackie McKay – 53rd
  • Valentina Rodriguez – 63rd

Perhaps the story of the day was the exciting tale of Chrissy Robillard who, in spite of getting a wasp stuck in her hair and getting stung multiple times, finished in 80th place overall (6th on the team)!

On the boys’ side, the competition was fierce and we certainly needed a great race from everyone if we were to have a great team result. Throughout the 6k course, the SMUS boys persevered nicely and many of them worked their way up the field as the race progressed. Liam Knightly rounded the first lap in 27th place, but he eventually paid for his enthusiastic start in the end. Both Cole Turner and Sam Jackson had very consistent races, and both turned in excellent performances. When the dust settled, SMUS finished as the 11th boys team in the boys.

The SMUS team (top five runners out of 200) were as follows:

  • Liam Knightly – 35th place
  • Cole Turner – 66th place
  • Sam Jackson – 110th place
  • Victor Yoo – 112th place
  • Gabe Lunn – 114th place

Coaches Tobacco and Hunt would like to thank all the runners for their efforts over the season. The participation rate (40) was the highest in well over a decade. All SMUS athletes showed significant improvement with their level of fitness and their racing performance, thus proving that effort in training yields results. In particular, the coaches would like to thank those Grade 12 athletes who have fully committed themselves to the cross-country program for a good number of years.

Junior Boys Soccer
The Junior boys soccer team had two tough-fought battles this week. Monday’s home game against Reynolds started slow with the visitors capitalizing on a back line mix-up in the first four minutes of play, which allowed their fast striker to slot the ball into the bottom corner and go up 1-0. Some good possession in midfield by Kieran Large, Simon Gray, and Ryan Cui led to a great through-ball to find Alex Carrion running onto the pass and chipping the keeper to tie the game 1-1. The rest of the first half was non-stop action from both teams with a total of eight shots from each side and three cross bars, two from Reynolds and one from SMUS. During the first half, goalkeeper Bryce Fenton injured his finger and Graeme Hyde-Lay rose to the challenge and went in goal. In the second half, the boys came out flying and racked up four shots in the first eight minutes of play. After 10 minutes, Alex Carrion beat his man down the line and whipped in a cross that found Max Gaethje’s head and SMUS went up 2-1. The visitors, however, tied it up this time in the 25th minute, but Max Gaethje bounced back again with his second of the afternoon and we ahead 3-2 with ten minutes left. Some strong defending in the back from Michelangelo Cernucan and Jason Scully kept us in the game. Reynolds’ striker, again on a lucky bounce and a skid from the grass, was sent through on a breakaway in the 30th minute and tied the game 3-3. Extra time found SMUS all over their opponents, but they were unlucky not to pop one in the first five minutes. Penalty kicks was the only way to decide the game, which was unfortunate, because the visitors were victorious and won the shootout, 5-3.

Wednesday found the boys in a do-or-die game. In order to qualify for the Island Championship they needed a win against the top-ranked Claremont. Graeme Hyde-Lay again started in goal, with Bryce Fenton still shaking off his hand injury from Monday. The game began slowly from both teams with only three shots in the first twenty-five minutes, until Michael Baart tapped in a ball after Max Gaethje hammered a shot from twenty-five yards, leaving the goalkeeper with no option but to give up a rebound. Some great defending from our back four of Ryan Cui, Jason Scully, Michelangelo Cernucan, and Grant Nicholson limited Claremont’s scoring opportunities to just one. It was not until the 28th minute when Michael Baart struck again. Beating two defenders on a fantastic through ball from Kieran Large, he slotted home to win the game, 2-0. With this win, the boys secure the third place spot in the league and a berth in the Island Championship. On Wednesday, the team will travel to Campbell River to defend their title and bring the Island trophy home.

Rowing
On Saturday, 14 members of SMUS team participated in the annual Head of the Gorge Regatta. This race is 5.0 km in length and winds from Johnston Street Bridge up to Craigflower Park in Victoria. The excitement for spectators is watching the crews maneuvering their way through the Tillicum Bridge narrows and the whirlpool created by the changing tide. There were 187 crews racing.

In the Men’s Junior Club and Schools 8+ Event, SMUS took second out of eight crews (just 9 seconds behind St. George’s) and 7th out of 17 Men’s 8+ crews (including Canada’s 2011 World Bronze Medal winners). In the Women’s Junior Club and Schools 4X Event, SMUS took 4th of seven crews and were the only school racing. In the Open Men’s 2X Event, our crews took 2nd and 3rd behind St. George’s School.

Grade 9 Rugby
The Grade 9 rugby team suffered its first defeat of the season, going down 29-5 at St. George’s on October 27. Credit goes to the hosts, who scored somewhat against the run of play in the first half, and then dodged a few bullets as SMUS pressed for the equalizer. The second frame was a different story. St. George’s scored again to lead 10-0 and, growing in confidence, then went on to dominate possession en route to three more scores. A consolation try, scored by David Lee, was all SMUS could offer in return. With Emiliano Sedano and Max Pollen as notable exceptions, the rest of the team seemed to be having an off day.

Earlier in the week, the B team had enjoyed an entertaining and balanced match at Shawnigan, finishing 36-26 to the good after plenty of back and forth action. Lee again was prominent, notching three well-taken tries, while James Hayashi, Douglas Peerless and Jake Wilmott were also impressive.

The squad has another set of matches coming up, starting with a November 8 face-off against Shawnigan and the ISA Sevens competition at SMUS.

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