PETAWAWA – The relatively small South Huron District High School had a five-member cross country team this fall, and one of those athletes qualified to run at the 2017 Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Cross Country Championships that were held in Petawawa, Ont. on Nov. 4.
Shipka’s Brandon King, who is now in Grade 9 at South Huron District High School qualified for the OFSAA Cross Country Championships when he placed top five in a Western Ontario Secondary School Athletic Association (WOSSAA) run in Clinton in late October.
King placed third in the WOSSAA run with a time of 15:15, earning him a chance to participate in the OFSAA championships that were set to take place the following week.
Off King went to Petawawa, joined by his parents Clancy and Michelle and South Huron’s cross country coach Paul Colbourne.
After a nearly 600 kilometre drive across the province, King joined 265 other Ontarian runners in his Midget Boys category.
The Midget Boys ran a distance of 3.98 kilometres, and King placed 35th in the race. That’s something that coach Colbourne says is “impressive” especially because of the small school King attends in South Huron. King ran the nearly four kilometre run in 14:02.3.
“It’s so fun, getting to see different places,” said the young runner when he met with the Times-Advocate last week. King says the OFSAA run was different because it was on a surface that was unlike any other he has run on before. “The track had a lot more hills, including a big one,” he said.
King began running when he was in Grade 7 at SHDHS and has continued to do so ever since. He used to only run with the school (SHDHS) but has recently joined the Huron-Perth Wind running club operated by Ken Gosleigh.
King and the Wind meet to run on Tuesdays and Sundays, either at the high school in Mitchell or at the Morrison Dam Trail.
The Morrison Dam Trial in Exeter is eight kilometres long. Between running with the school and running with the Wind, King will be covering 5-10 kilometres four times a week.
Colbourne, who has taught at SHDHS for 13 years, and is an active runner himself says he would like to see an increase of student involvement with the school’s cross country team next fall.
“I’m hounding them (students) all the time…but frankly as long as they want to do well and progress I don’t care where you come in races, ” said Colbourne. He added he just wants students to improve, and running has great health benefits.
“We always joke that the runners play other sports and people can’t do what they do in regards to maintaining stamina over a long period of time,” explained Colbourne.
King will have a lot of time to practice before next year’s OFSAA Cross Country Championships, and he’s set a personal goal to place top 20.