Sault Stryders
Running Club

Ross enthusiasm overflowing heading into OFSAA No. 4
Reported June 4, 2003 by Peter Ruicci for The Sault Star
Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

St. Mary's College student Andrew Ross says every
provincial championship is a learning experience.

It's the premier event of his favourite high school sport and, even if he wanted to, Andrew Ross can't hide his enthusiasm.

As part of a sizable Sault Ste. Marie contingent, the OAC student at St. Mary's College was scheduled to leave for St. Catharines this morning, site of the three-day, Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Track and Field Championships, which begin Thursday.

"It's such a high level of competition, it's always exciting to compete there," said Ross, who's entered in the Senior Boys' 110-metre hurdles, 400m hurdles and the 4-by-400m relay.

"The scale of the meet, how many people are competing and watching, always makes it exciting. And I think that makes you perform better."

This will mark OFSAA No. 4 for Ross, who won both of his individual events and teamed for a 4-by-400m relay gold with Matt Chaimbrone, Todd Matejka and Kayvon Fatemizadeh in the city meet.

Ross, Chaimbrone, Kyle Dugas and Anthony Zuccato also won the 4-by-100m relay locally.

Last week, at the Northern Ontario Secondary Schools Association (NOSSA) Championships, the 18-year-old Ross again won the 110m hurdles and 4-by-400m relay, finishing second in the 400m hurdles and 4-by-100m relay.

He led in the 400m hurdles, but was overtaken by Chris Siegman of St. Basil when, on a windy day, Siegman's final hurdle blew over.

Though determined to do his best at provincials, based on the calibre of athletes he'll face, Ross considers anything beyond making the finals (top eight) in each event, gravy.

"The competition at OFSAA gets stronger every year," he said. "You can really see the difference between some of the southern Ontario competitors and the people in the North. They have an advantage because of their large population and the weather conditions they enjoy."

A double junior, in his first year of senior competition, Ross sees the 400m hurdles as his best event. If he makes the finals, Ross says, who knows what might happen.

On the other hand, the relay could provide the most difficult test.

"But we have a hard-working team," said Ross, who also helped lead St. Mary's to 2002 city, NOSSA and Central Bowl football championships. "The odds will be stacked against us. But we'll put together a good effort and see what happens."