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    Laura Yantha (centre) won the senior girls race. (Submitted photo)

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    Nick Bauernschmitt, who finished 36th in the senior boys. (Submitted photo)

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    Catherine Bell, who finished 24th in the senior girls. (Submitted photo)



Kitchissippi Ridge Invitational hailed as successful pre-OFSAA meet


Posted on Thursday, November 2, 2017

PETAWAWA-The Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Cross-Country Championships Organizing Committee is lauding the successful completion of the Kitchissippi Ridge Invitational on Thursday, Oct. 5 and are now focusing their attention on the impending 2017 OFSAA cross country championships.

The Pre-OFSAA race saw 924 runners from across Ontario, including high schools as far away as Toronto and Timmins, come to test their mettle on the course at the Petawawa Golf Club, an important step on the journey to the OFSAA championships, which will be held here on Saturday, Nov. 4. The organizing committee has received positive feedback from the attending high schools and feel they are ready for the big event after this successful dress rehearsal.

“The dry run for OFSAA went as well as possible,” says event co-covenor and Valour High School cross-country coach Rick Schroeder. “Petawawa and Renfrew County are ready to host the fastest cross-country runners in the province.”

The 2017 OFSAA cross country championships will be held on Saturday, Nov. 4. Recognized as one of the three largest cross-country races in North America, OFSAA is rivaled only by the New York and California state championships in terms of size and competitiveness. The Kitchissippi Ridge Invitational was blessed to have fair weather and excellent conditions on the challenging course, made up of the long winding trails and hills in and around the golf club. For years, Schroeder and many on the committee have been waiting for the day that Petawawa would host such a prestigious event, and that day is nearly here.

“We have waited a long time to host those elite high school runners, who are among the best in North America,” adds Schroeder. “We couldn’t be prouder of this great opportunity to bring a major championship to our community and a chance for our local athletes to compete on the provincial stage here at home.”

Local athletes rose to the challenge during the Pre-OFSAA races. Laura Yantha, from Madwaska Valley District High School, captured first place in the senior girls six-kilometre with a time of 22 minutes, 50 seconds, while national champion Jonathan Stoppa ran to a second-place finish in the senior boys with a time of 20 minutes, 43 seconds.

Rudy Saal, from Ecole Jeanne-Lajoie, won the midget boys four-kilometre with a time of 13 minutes, 30 seconds, while Keaton McGrath, from Arnprior District High School, claimed second-place with a time of 13 minutes, 56 seconds. Jeanne-Lajoie’s Samantha Csistu took third-place in the midget girls four-kilometre run with a time of 15 minutes, 51 seconds. For complete results, you can check out the Windsor Timing website at http://www.windsortiming.com/LiveResults/2017/PreOFSAA/.

“The Petawawa Golf Club course really provides challenging terrain. It’s the perfect place to hold a cross-country race of this magnitude,” adds Schroeder. “The runners saw that during this invitational. Now they have an idea what they can expect when we gather here in November.”

The meet is being hosted under a partnership that includes the Upper Ottawa Valley High School Athletic Association (UOVHSAA), Valour High School, Fellowes High School, Jeanne Lajoie Catholic High School and Madawaska Valley District High School. OFSAA is anticipated to attract 1,800 runners, as well as another 5,000 coaches, volunteers and spectators, from 20 different districts. The race will see 250 runners compete in seven divisions, midget boys and girls (Grade 9), junior boys and girls (Grade 10), senior boys and girls (Grade 11-12) and a para category. The OFSAA championship will be broadcast live on the Athletics Canada TV website.

This will be third OFSAA cross-country championship to come to Renfrew County following meets in 1997 (Cobden) and 2003 (Renfrew).