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Junior Trojans’ finish fourth at OFSAA

The West Ferris Junior Boys cross-country running team finished fourth at OFSAA last weekend. From Left to Right: Coach Karin Podlatis-Brown, Jeff McLellan, Matt Walters, Shane Karn, Nick Walters, and Assistant Coach Ann Perrault.
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The West Ferris Junior Boys cross-country running team finished fourth at OFSAA last weekend.
From Left to Right: Coach Karin Podlatis-Brown, Jeff McLellan, Matt Walters, Shane Karn, Nick Walters, and Assistant Coach Ann Perrault. Missing: Joe Turner. Photo by Andrew Hopkins.




By: Andrew Hopkins

The West Ferris Trojans junior boy’s cross-country running team capped off an amazing season with a fourth-place finish at the Ontario Federation of School Athletics Association (OFSAA) championships held in Guelph.

The team, led by twins Matt and Nick Walters, who finished sixth and 16th respectively, missed out in receiving the bronze medal by four points. Matt finished the 5.97-kilometre course in 19 minutes 49 seconds while his brother Nick finished 27 seconds behind him at 20:16.

Rounding out the Trojans’ placings were Shane Karn, Jeffrey McLellan and Joe Turner finishing 84th, 160th, and 217th place respectively out of 244 runners.

Matt was happy with his performance during the race and said to himself before it started that he wanted to stick up with the leading pack during the race and it’s something that he accomplished.

“And I came through in the finish,” he added.

He was only four seconds behind the 5th place finisher, but couldn’t run fast enough to pass him.

“I could see the guy, but I didn’t have enough of the race left to catch him,” Matt said.

Matt and Nick train together and during the races they like to stay together and encourage each other along the course.

“We push each other. We try and work off each other,” Nick said.

Nick wasn’t as happy with his performance in the race because usually he is only two to three seconds behind his brother, but in this race he was close to 30 seconds behind him.

“I wanted to start off at the leading pack. Then I was running with Matt and the guy that eventually won and I started to fall behind. I just seemed like I didn’t have enough energy for it and I didn’t push myself at the start,” Nick said.

Coach Karin Podlatis-Brown was impressed with the team’s performance at OFSAA and happy with the fourth-place finish.

“I was ecstatic. They did exactly what has a coach you wanted them to do, they did what they were told, they listened during the race, and I couldn’t ask for more. It would have been nice to have those four extra points to be in the medal round. That would have been great but as far as the boys are concerned I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Podlatis-Brown expressed.

Podlatis-Brown wasn’t quite sure how well this junior team would perform this season and didn’t expect that they would finish fourth at OFSAA, but did hope that they would perform well and she knew that the potential was there to succeed.

“It’s always wishful thinking. You try not to expect cause then you don’t want to have kids to be cocky about stuff. OFSAA is such a high calibre and with the juniors they just really rose to the occasion and with any junior athlete they’re always up and down and you’re never quite sure what’s going to happen. They just really brought it all together and they ran like they had to run. I never try to expect because then you kind of get let down if things don’t work out but the potential was their and that’s what we knew about,” Podlatis-Brown said.

With the teams fourth place finish, Matt is not too happy that they just missed out on a medal, but overall is still happy that the team finished in fourth place out of a field of 40 teams.

“We knew we had a chance at a medal and we didn’t pull through as much as I thought we were going to. I thought we were going to get third,” Matt said.

Next year all the junior runners from this year’s team will be moving up to the senior division and should have a great shot at winning a medal.

“I’m very happy with the way the season went and we’re going to be hard hit next year because we are losing a lot of our seniors. Hopefully if kids are looking for a team to be involved in whether for fun, to set goals, to improve their fitness, to be social or whether if they want to be real hard competing athletes then kids will come out and think about joining cross-country next year,” Podlatis-Brown explained.



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