Northern’s Gabby Jones and Ryan Davies won the senior races at the LKSSAA Cross Country Championship on Thursday.

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WALLACEBURG – It was quite a comeback for Northern’s Gabby Jones.

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Competing in her first cross-country race in three years, she won the LKSSAA Senior Women’s Championship on Thursday in the Crothers Conservation Area.

“I was struggling with an injury from the end of August through September, so I came back just a few weeks ago,” said Jones, 16, who is in 11th grade. wasn’t exactly sure if this was going to happen.

She switched to basketball over cross country in grade 9. She reportedly ran in grade 10, but the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the season.

“Nothing against basketball – I loved it – but I thought I was more good at cross country. After grade 9 I really wanted to try it out so I decided to start practicing more and make the switch, ”Jones said.

Running has also been a positive for her during the pandemic.

“It was one of the only sports I could do during COVID, so it allowed me to train and improve so that this year I could compete,” she said.

Jones won the 4,600-meter race in 15:51 as Northern swept through the top five places.

Jones, who trains with the Sarnia Athletics Southwest Track and Field Club, tried not to think too much about the race. She took the lead on the first of four laps and led the rest of the way.

“I had kind of a plan, but I thought taking it as it comes might be the best plan for today,” she said.

Northern's Ryan Davies (1800) quickly takes the lead in the senior men's 4,600-meter race during the LKSSAA Cross Country Championship meet at the Crothers Conservation Area in Wallaceburg, Ont. On Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. Mark Malone / Chatham Daily News / Postmedia Network
Northern’s Ryan Davies (1800) quickly takes the lead in the senior men’s 4,600-meter race during the LKSSAA Cross Country Championship meet at the Crothers Conservation Area in Wallaceburg, Ont. On Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. Mark Malone / Chatham Daily News / Postmedia Network

Ryan Davies of Northern won the senior men’s 4,600-meter race in 14:01. He traded the lead with JJ Fogarty of St. Patrick’s for the first two rounds, but started to pull away in the third.

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“I was actually pretty nervous for the first two laps because he looked strong,” said Davies, 16. “As soon as I started to swerve a little bit, I was like, have this. ‘”

The course was flatter than Davies prefers, but he was happy with his performance.

“The strategy was just to stand out, always be in the lead, and then just keep running and split up a few laps,” said the 11th grader, who won the LKSSAA midget title. in 2019.

Davies won all three high school games on the Vikings’ calendar this fall,

The Lambton Kent Secondary Schools Athletic Association does not send athletes to the OFSAA Fall Championships, but Davies’ season is not over. He will compete with the South West Athletics team in other competitions.

Samantha Stewart of Blenheim won the junior women’s 3,500-meter race in 12:37. She finished 27 seconds ahead of finalist Shannon James of Northern.

Gavin Meriano d’Ursuline won the junior men’s 3,500-meter race in 11:24, eight seconds ahead of teammate Brock Labadie.

Novices (formerly known as midgets) and juniors have raced together this season. Labadie and James are the novice champions of the LKSSAA.

The Northern Vikings won the junior girls, senior girls and senior boys team titles. Ursuline won the junior boys’ crown.

The Lambton Kent Secondary Schools Athletic Association does not send athletes to the OFSAA Fall Championships.


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