MSS harriers win NOSSA, now OFSSA-bound

MUSTANGS ROCK!—Manitoulin Secondary School runner Maren Kasunich, a member of the Mustangs junior girls’ cross-country team, finished in first place overall in her race at the Northern Ontario Secondary School Association championships. The MSS team did the Island proud at the meet this year. photo by Gerry Holliday

M’CHIGEENG – Six members of the Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) Mustangs cross-country running team have qualified for the provincial championships!

“Today, at the Northern Ontario (Secondary School Association) championships, MSS scored some remarkable results,” said MSS head coach Gerry Holliday on October 27. “In the novice division, Xavi Mara finished in seventh place in a time of 16:12.31 (in the four-kilometre race). 

“In the junior boys’ division, Brodie Pennie laid down a strong showing, placing third in his category (a timed 18:25.07),” said Mr. Holliday.

“The junior girls’ team comprised of Maren Kasunich, Mackenzie Green, Annie Balfe and Morgan Green won their division (in the five-kilometre race) by six points over powerhouse LoEllen out of Sudbury,” continued Mr. Holliday. 

Brodie Pennie, number 59, a member of the MSS junior boys’ team, placed third in his race division at the Northern Ontario Secondary School Association championships. photo by Gerry Holliday

Mr. Holliday explained, “Maren, despite nursing a knee injury she sustained just days ago, dominated her field, winning by a substantial margin (in a time of 33:10.30). It was in this race where it proved just how much a team sport cross country running really is when Morgan Green put in a gutsy performance (finishing 15th in a time of 39:33.39) to seal victory for her team. Mackenzie Green was fifth (a time of 36:31.06), with Annie Balfe sixth in a time of 37:11).

“These six individuals will advance to the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championship being held on November 6 just outside Peterborough.”

“Throughout this season, the 13 members of this team have all worked hard to put their best efforts into each and every race,” said Mr. Holliday. “Although for some the season for competing has wrapped up, they continue to show their true belief in our total team concept. Some members have stated that they will continue to come to the practices to help show support to the other team members who continue to race. Other members on this team that both coach Allison Orford and myself are so proud of include Andrew Cooper, Patrick McCann, Orland Carter O’Hearn, Julian Wemigwans, Alan Wilkin, Jack Pennie and Landon Hare.” 

Mr. Holliday added, “in wrapping up our NOSSA running journey it must be mentioned that such success would not be possible if not for some people who have generously given their own personal time and effort. To Tina Balfe who repeatedly has supplied runners with rides part way to the track at Lakeview School for workouts, and to Derek Debassige and his staff at Manitoulin Physio for their prompt response in looking after Maren Kasunich’s knee injury just prior to her race: great job. And last but not least, the head janitor at Lakeview School, Adam Roy, who has often levelled out the track so that practices could be held on a safe running surface. Thank you to the three of you. Next stop…OFSAA!”