The Cambrian Golden Shield can now boast back to back OCAA women’s individual cross-country champions. If anything, newcomer Mary Strain may have enjoyed an even more comfortable win than Sudburian Emily Marcolini did one year ago.
Competing in King City, Strain covered the five kilometer course, on Saturday, in a time of 20:28, more than a minute faster than second place finisher Kaitlin Shuvera of Humber.
Marcolini captured the 2015 event in a time of 19:58, running a course in Sault Ste Marie that is expected to be similar to the site of the upcoming CCAA Championships on November 11th and 12th.
Meanwhile, Strain, who is a native of Fort Frances, was feeling understandably relaxed last week, heading into provincials, having already placed first in three separate races, and setting course records at two of the venues.
“My game plan is just to do what I’ve been doing the past few races,” noted Strain, before leaving for Toronto on Friday. “I took it easy on the first kilometer in the first race, and that really seemed to benefit me, so I kept using that strategy in the next couple of races – take the lead in the first kilometer or so.”
“I’m feeling a lot more confident in myself right now – and excited for nationals as well.”
Strain was joined in the ladies competition by teammates Megan Lloyd-Wismer (29:53 – 87th) and Jacqueline Robichaud (31:11 – 93rd). While the men’s race did not produce any top end finishes for the Cambrian lads, it easily provided a moment to remember.
Manitoulin Island native Wyatt Kennedy (39:50 – 111th) was presented with a special “perseverance and fair play award”, recognizing his recent battle with cancer and his return to the OCAA circuit in his first year at Cambrian.