/Running down a Kawartha championship
Red Hawks cross country runners Corin Gervais, from left, Ivan Zagorsky, Nick Phippen and Erika Hoare represented the Highlands at the Bay of Quinte Invitational held on Wednesday, Oct. 6 at the Dunnett Orchards in Brighton. Submitted by Karen Gervais

Running down a Kawartha championship

By Darren Lum

The return to racing was welcomed by the Red Hawks cross-country team after close to two years away because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Four runners, Erika Hoare, Nick Phippen, Corin Gervais and Ivan Zagorsky represented the red and white at the Bay of Quinte Invitational at Dunnett Orchards in Brighton on Wednesday, Oct. 6, which featured athletes from Central Ontario high schools.

Leading the way was senior (16 to 18) runner Nick Phippen with a ninth place finish in the senior boys class, who averaged a 3:52 per kilometre pace over the 5,650 metre distance. This follows his eleventh place finish in the 50 kilometre race at the Haliburton Forest Trail Race a few weeks ago. The senior boys field of runners included the past novice boys all-provincial champion, Erik Unger of Adam Scott Collegiate Vocational Institute.

Red Hawks senior boys runner Nick Phippen charges up a hill on his way to a ninth place finish at the Bay of Quinte Invitational held at Dunnett Orchards on Wednesday, Oct. 6 in Brighton. /Submitted by Karen Gervais

Novice (13 to 14 years) girl Erika Hoare made her racing debut with a fifteenth place, and over the 3,700 metre race she averaged a 4:53 per kilometre pace. Teammates senior boy Corin Gervais finished twenty-ninth and Ivan Zagorsky, who also made his racing debut like Hoare, finished seventieth in the senior boys class.  Zagorsky is a new Hawk, having recently moved to the Haliburton area from Windsor. Gervais has made a return after a hiatus from running, “but his commitment to practice fosters quick progress,” coach Karen Gervais wrote in an email.

Getting to facilitate the opportunity to race moved the coach. 

“As a coach, I felt a little emotional and overcome with joy watching athletes challenging themselves again and motivated to work towards their goals. The energy was very positive and athletes were very happy to be back at a competitive event. Dunnett Orchards was a beautiful venue for the meet with lots of space for schools to spread out. The course was challenging, with a kilometre long climb from the lower orchard to the upper one. The senior boys did half of this climb again at the end of their 5.65 kilometre  course,” she wrote in an email.

The next competition for the runners is the Kawartha championships, which will be hosted at Lakefield College on Wed. Oct. 20.