City High School Cross Country Championships
By BILL MONTAGUE, The Sault Star, October 19, 2001


SJD's Skinner eyes Northern and Southern Ontario success after city victory

Andrew Skinner wants to get back to the Big Show and took some steps to get there Thursday. The 18-year-old from Sir James Dunn collegiate turned in a masterful effort at the City High Schools cross-country running championships, winning the senior boys seven-kilometre race in a time of 29 minutes and 59 seconds.

Next for Skinner is the Northern Ontario Secondary Schools Association championships where he hopes to fare well and advance to his ultimate goal. He has not been to the Ontario Federation of Schools Athletic Association finals since 1999 but he has his sights set on that this season.

But Skinner knows the road to OFSAA will be tough.

``I've been checking out the times of the mini meets on the Internet (of his NOSSA competitors) and they've been fast,'' said Skinner. ``It's going to be tough. I just hope I can do well to help the team.

``This is my last year in high school and I haven't been to OFSAA since Grade 10 so it would be nice to go back.''

While Skinner had to battle some of the city's top high school runners, he also had to contend with Mother Nature. The conditions at Kinsmen Park were wet and cold, making for a slippery terrain.

``This is a very tough course and it's way harder than any other course in Ontario,'' said Skinner. ``Here, you run hills and in southern Ontario the surfaces are all grassy and smooth.''

While many runners frowned at the prospect of having to run through some puddles that were knee high, it wasn't the same for SJD runners.

``It wasn't too bad but then again the Dunn guys love running through water,'' Skinner said. ``They were going to change the course and we didn't want them to. It was a lot of fun but there was one puddle that was pretty deep. Y could feel you quads tighten up when you came out of it.''

The Sir James Dunn boys won the senior and junior boys' titles and the boys aggregate title by beating out St. Mary's by two points. St. Mary's won the midget boys' division.

Nathan Reiter (30:37) from White Pines and Matt McCron (31:04) from SJD followed Skinner.

In the junior boys' six-kilometre race, Korah's Clyde Bridge was first overall in 22:35 followed by St. Mary's Rocky Robitaille (23:04) and Bawating's Andrew King (23:49).

In the midget boys' five-kilometre event, Jake Reid from St. Mary's topped the field in 20:06 followed by Bawating's Colin Nickel (20:43) and St. Mary's Phil Ruicci (21:10).