City Public Elementary School Cross Country Championships
By BILL MONTAGUE, The Sault Star, October 11, 2001

Queen Elizabeth running ace keeps family successes alive

Kristen Johnson wanted to follow in the footsteps of some inspirational people Wednesday and she had little trouble keeping up. The 12-year-old cross-country runner from Queen Elizabeth public school has always wanted to emulate the success her brothers and father had as athletes and she accomplished more than that, setting a standard other youngsters would love to copy.

For the fifth consecutive year, Johnson captured the city championship in her division at the annual city public elementary meet at Kinsmen Park but this one meant more because it came during her final year in public school.

``It feels great and I'm really excited because this is my last year,'' said Johnson, who won the girls 13-year-old division and has her sights set on enrolling in Sir James Dunn next fall. ``It was important to me because my brothers (Michael and Craig) ran before and did really well so I wanted to do good, too.

``My dad also played sports when he was younger and so does my little brother, Drew. I guess I've always liked sports because everybody in the family played and I always watched them when I was growing up.''

Johnson's winning time was 11 minutes, 41 seconds.

While Johnson won her final cross-country meet of her public school career, so too did David Fraser.

The talented runner from Bay View school waved goodbye in glorious fashion, winning his second consecutive city championship, this time in the 13-year-old division.

Fraser finished the 2.5-kilometre race in 10:40.0 seconds and proved that hard work definitely pays off. He spent a lot of time training for the race and admitted that winning meant a lot to him because this is his final year in public school.

``I trained mostly every day,'' Fraser said. ``It was a pretty good race. There was this one guy that was with me half way through but then he stopped and I got the lead. Another guy came up and as soon as I heard everybody cheering near the end, I just floored it and was able to beat him.''

Johnson, meanwhile, accomplished her feat on the wet and muddy 2.5-kilometre course at Kinsmen and in a highly competitive field. She finished the race approximately 20 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.

``If anybody got in front of me, I just wanted to try my hardest and get in front of them,'' Johnson said. ``One girl took the lead early but I passed her on the hill and stayed in front the rest of the way.''

Johnson, who also plays soccer, hockey and other sports at school, spends a lot of time training for distance running. She said she trains at Queen Elizabeth Field and spends time during the winters, running outside and keeping in shape for endurance-type events.

She also runs the 400-metres and relay events at the city public schools track and field meets held each year late in the school year.

For Fraser, the victory fulfilled one of his greatest goals. He had always looked up to former Bay View running star Troy Guzzo, who is now in high school and was determined to follow in Guzzo's footsteps.

``There was this one guy (Guzzo) who was winning all the time and I guess I wanted to be just like him,'' Fraser said.

Other winners Wednesday included, in the nine-year-old division, Rosedale's Alexis Shamess (9:26) and Tarentorus' Cory Peterson (8:39); in the 10-year-old division, Anna McCrea's Meghan Diangelo (8:39) and Prince Charles' Richard Maclennan (8:15); in the 11-year-old division, Anna McCrea's Mari-Beth Manuel (8:42) and Hornepayne's Anthony Bin (7:59); and, in the 12-year-old division, Mount View's Karen Alexander (12:47) and Esten Park's Theo McInnes (10:57).