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Knights retain crown in SDSSAA relay championships

The Lo-Ellen Park Knights might not have reached the height of their dominance May 14 at the Laurentian University track, but neither were they close to being dethroned.
The Lo-Ellen Park Knights captured first place in 10 of the 16 events at the SDSSAA relay championships to retain the team crown for the 14th consecutive time. File photo.
The Lo-Ellen Park Knights might not have reached the height of their dominance May 14 at the Laurentian University track, but neither were they close to being dethroned.

The Knights made it 14 consecutive SDSSAA relay championships with relative ease, capturing first place in 10 of the 16 events that were contested and outpacing the Lockerby Vikings by 22 points (142 to 120).

It was only two years ago the Lo-Ellen crew were drawing increasingly near to running a perfect meet, getting close to sweeping every single event that was being contested. This May, Lasalle, Lockerby and Notre-Dame athletes joined the Knights as first-place finishers.

The meet ran slightly faster than in previous years, with the decision to move the 4x200m race as one open competition for both boys and girls, versus the previous standard of staging a field for the midgets, juniors and seniors alike.

Not that the alteration was likely to deter coach Colin Ward and the Lo-Ellen crew. "This meet is more about the team, the whole school coming together for the relay meet," said senior Pierce Wallingford.

"We know that we have to stay on top of our game, because we know that we need to stay undefeated."

Wallingford was a member of both the winning 4x100m and 4x400m teams, though he was quick to deflect the praise.

"There's a lot of quick kids at Lo-Ellen," Wallingford said. "We have some people who train really hard for the 400m, that's their main event."

In his particular case, Wallingford might well be one of the most well-rounded multi-sport athletes at Lo-Ellen, even if he tackles a more modest role in the relay events.

"I just try and stick with the pace," he said with a smile. One of those setting the pace, at least in the girls events, was Lo-Ellen junior Nicole Conlin, fresh off her gold-medal performance with the Sudbury U17 Jam basketball crew just last weekend.

A member of both the 4x100m and 4x400m Knights junior girls team, Conlin combined with Michelle Corallo, Helena Mae and Kennedy Roy to break one of the two records that fell on the day, dropping the standard in the mile to 4:23.98.

The previous record of 4:26.10 was established back in 2005, also by Lo-Ellen, with a quartet that included Natasia San Cartier, Rebecca Johnston, Renée Jacques and Emily Petingola.

A favourite in the 300m hurdles heading into the city championships next week, Conlin notes a different atmosphere within the relay environment.

"I think it's more relaxed because you have a team with you, you're not just competing on your own," she said.

"It's kind of nice to have someone else to share the nerves, to talk to before you go."

Although she clearly favours the hurdles, Conlin is more than capable of remaining competitive at distances ranging from the 100m to the 400m, even if there is a dramatically different mindset in play.

"The 100m is a quick sprint," she explained. "You're just trying to get to where you want to go as fast as you can. The 400m, there is strategy to it. You have to pace yourself, but you're still sprinting at the same time."

Also finding their way into the record books were the Lo-Ellen junior boys, ironically also in the 4x400m event. The Knights team of Graham Noble, Casey Crowe, Jarod Milford and Brendan Costello covered four laps of the track in 3:44.41, almost four full seconds better than the Collège Notre-Dame grouping of Jeffrey Turgeon, Eric Ouellette, Tyler Daoust and Sebastien Gobeil (3:48.40) exactly a decade ago.

Following is a full breakdown of the results from the 2014 SDSSAA relay championships:

4x800 metres
Open Girls - Lockerby Composite – 10:56.28
Open Boys - Lo-Ellen Park – 8:35.41

4x100 metres
Midget Girls - Lo-Ellen Park – 55.90
Midget Boys - Lockerby Composite – 49.90
Junior Girls - Lo-Ellen Park – 52.45
Junior Boys - Lo-Ellen Park – 48.03
Senior Girls - Lasalle Secondary – 51.82
Senior Boys - Lo-Ellen Park – 46.69

4x200 metres
Open Girls - Collège Notre-Dame – 1:51.38
Open Boys - Lo-Ellen Park – 1:40.72

4x400 metres
Midget Girls - Lo-Ellen Park – 4:43.43
Midget Boys - Lockerby Composite – 4:02.62
Junior Girls - Lo-Ellen Park – 4:23.98*
Junior Boys - Lo-Ellen Park – 3:44.41*
Senior Girls - Lasalle Secondary – 4:21.84
Senior Boys - Lo-Ellen Park – 3:42.00
*indicates a new record