Two Championship CISAA Titles / 18 OFSAA Qualifying Athletes / OFSAA Silver Medal for Jocelyn

-by Coach Calder-

There was a time when DEL dominated the sport of XC at the CISAA level. We often swept all the girls' team titles, or won most of them, and repeatedly won the Co-Ed School Title. Ten years ago, back in 2007, we sent the greatest number of athletes to a single OFSAA XC event in our post re-privatization school history: 21 runners in total. We had swept all three girls team titles (15 runners), and done the impossible when we stole the second OFSAA spot from Crescent School in the Junior Boys division when we beat them by one point at the CISAA Finals (5 Junior Boys plus 1 qualifying Midget Boy). Back then there was no parity in our sport at CISAA: St. Mike's dominated the boys divisions, while we dominated the girls' side of things.

In recent years there has been growing parity among girls' schools in SR XC. Championship titles have been increasingly hard to come by as other schools have stepped up their game. CISAA is also far more competitive at the Provincial level: last year BSS won the SR Girls division, while St. Mike's won the JR Boys division. There is no guarantee that DEL will win titles in XC from one year to the next, as we did in the past. This is what makes this year's success such a pleasant surprise.

A coach can sometimes sense when they have a good team. I knew we had a chance to make some noise at the CISAA Finals when 60 athletes turned up to join our team at the start of the school year. We hadn't needed to take two school buses to XC meets for many years. The grade 9's made up half our team and the Midget Girls team was the biggest we have ever had - 17 runners at the outset. Our runners came with a good attitude, were very coachable and committed to their training. We showed promising results at our early meets. Good things would be in store for us at the CISAA Finals.

Our boys' teams collectively produced their greatest results ever, as our Midget Boys came 3rd (6 points), our Senior Boys came 4th (4 points), while our Junior Boys did the impossible when they became only the 2nd boys' team we have ever qualified for OFSAA when they grabbed the second OFSAA spot from UCC (8 points). That's 18 of the 34 points, the most that our boys have ever contributed toward the overall Co-Ed Championship title. Our OFSAA qualifying Junior Boys were Dario Garcia-Mendez (3rd), Aidan Leyne, Matthew Walford, Xavier Ezman, and Alexander Arazyan. We also had two Midget Boys qualify for OFSAA as individuals in their division: Elliot Evans (9th) and Luke Aprile. Awesome job boys!!!

Not to be outdone, our girls' team also achieved great results at the CISAA Finals. Our Midget Girls won silver medals and the second OFSAA spot; qualifiers were Vanessa Fedele (11th), Sarah Damiani, Hedvig Andree, Enya Mena, and Skye Reid-Calder. Our Junior Girls team was our strongest team this season. They very nearly won their division! Our silver medal and OFSAA qualifying Junior Girls runners were Maya Cameron (7th), Lucile Bry, Rachel Chin, and Sofia Gerretsen. These fact that these girls worked very well as a unit at practices showed in their races. They were focussed and committed to their training. While there were three schools with 14 points toward the Overall Girls' Championship Title (St. Clement's, BSS, and Hillfield Strathallan), two second place finishes equalled 16 points. DEL SR XC WINS THE OVERALL GIRLS TITLE for the first time in five years!!! Given the success of both our boys and girls teams, DEL WINS THE OVERALL CO-ED SCHOOL TITLE as well; doubling the points of the next closest school!!!

How about the ultimate finish to our season.... Jocelyn Chau dominates the CISAA Finals by beating the next competitor by over a minute and a half. She then goes on to win the Senior Girls' silver medal at OFSAA in Petawawa Ontario on Saturday November 4th. Her race represents the culmination of an extraordinary high school career in XC.... Three OFSAA silver medals, (one year out for injury). I for one never expect to see another athlete like her. It has been a joy to watch her compete over the years. Good luck in the next phase of your athletic endeavors, Jocelyn!

Lastly, I want to thank my fellow coaches, Mr. Kulenkamp, Ms. Charles, and Richard Magony for helping at practices and meets. Their presence really helped lighten the load. A special thanks to Richard, a former DEL athlete, for volunteering his time these past four years while attending U of T. His brother, Christopher, was on the team, but Richard wound up helping the team as a whole. This is Richard's last year with us as he will soon graduate. On behalf of all the runners that he has worked with, I say a heartfelt thank you and best of luck in the future.