Tillsonburg Annandale School's Grade 8 girls won the open girls division at the TVDSB Cross-Country Finals in London last Tuesday, earning the nickname 'Fastest in the Valley.'
Haleigh Cole led the team individually, finishing 15th. Hailey Granger was 21st, Victoria Kyriakopoulos 25th, and Tori Cole 26th for a combined team score of 87. Teammates Cassie Vanwynsberghe (39th) and Taya Steadman (58th) also ran in the 152-athlete race at London's Fanshawe Conservation Area.
“We are all kind of together at the beginning,” said Victoria Kyriakopoulos. “It's really hard to get out front...”
“Me and Victoria sprinted ahead,” said Haleigh Cole. “They were all behind me and I thought they were going to trample over me, so I ran really fast.”
“A good job at the beginning,” said Annandale coach Henry VanAsseldonk, recalling the first 100m. “It's a big pack and they just sprinted out to the lead. I said, 'we'll see how much they have left.' When they came by with about 400m left, Haleigh was about 20th. She finished 15th, so somehow in the last 400m she passed a bunch of people.”
Depending on age division, race distances were 1.5 km, 2 km, and 2.5 km.
“When it was done, the team total was 87,” said VanAsseldonk. “In cross-country only the top four results on a team count. When I saw the convener, I said, 'is that going to hold up?'”
Not only did it hold up, despite several blazing-fast individual times, it won by a long shot.
“I think second place was 145,” said VanAsseldonk, “so they won convincingly.”
Annandale's open (Grade 8) boys – Christian Leliveld, Curtis Collver, Cam Weston and Brayden Simon – won third overall, scoring 185 points, with teammate Shane Brazier also running in the Finals.
Griffin Sinden was Annandale's only Grade 7 (senior boys) runner, and three competed in senior girls – Maddy Boulton, Clare McCormick, and Olivia Davies.
Annandale's cross-country team competed in two events before the TVDSB Final – a prep meet in Tillsonburg (Participark) and Regionals in Aylmer. In their first open girls race Victoria Kyriakopoulos finished first, Haleigh Cole second, Hailey Granger third, and Tori Cole fifth. At Regionals, Haleigh Cole was second, Hailey Granger third, Tori Cole eighth, and Victoria Kyriakopoulos ninth.
As a team, Fastest in the Valley. Individually, however, there were faster.
“The girl (Jocelyn Delgado, West Elgin) that won at Regionals, was... good,” nodded VanAsseldonk. “Clearly the winner.”
“But Mikenna (Vanderheyden) beat her at Finals,” noted Haleigh Cole.
Last year in a condensed 22-school TVDSB cross-country final, an Annandale boys team won its division, but with an asterisk.
“Last year it wasn't the full Valley,” noted VanAsseldonk. “There were 22 schools in just our region, this year, and there were eight regions...”
“Instead of like... how many schools?” Tori Cole smiled.
In 2011, Annandale's senior girls team (Grade 7s) finished third overall at the Finals, consisting of Gwen Garon, Olivia Kyriakopoulos, Hannah Leck and Gabby Holt.
12th Annual TVDSB Cross-Country Finals
London Fanshawe Conservation Area
1,650 elementary students
152 runners per category
More than 11,000 students took part in eight Regional meets earlier in October. The top team and next 15 fastest runners from each division advanced to the finals.
RESULTS: Annandale School, Tillsonburg
62nd Maddy Boulton (4th Regionals)
107th Olivia Davies (18th Regionals)
108th Clare McCormick (14th Regionals)
45th Griffin Sinden (5th Regionals)
OPEN GIRLS - 1st overall
15th Haleigh Cole (2nd Regionals)
21st Hailey Granger (3rd Regionals)
25th Victoria Kyriakopoulos (9th Regionals)
26th Tori Cole (8th Regionals)
39th Cassie Vanwynsberghe (13th Regionals)
58th Taya Steadman (16th Regionals)
OPEN BOYS - 3rd overall
20th Christian Leliveld (2nd Regionals)
21st Curtis Collver (3rd Regionals)
50th Cam Weston (5th Regionals)
94th Brayden Simon (15th Regionals)
105th Shane Brazier (18th Regionals)