Come Saturday, measuring success for Lynnea Lobert will have more to do with perspiration than presentation.
In other words, as long as the Sir James Dunn runner has given her all and is at the top of her game, she won’t put too much stock into where she finishes at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Cross-Country Championships in Niagara Falls.
A 14-year-old, Grade 9 student, Lobert is coming off of first-place finishes in the Midget Girls Division in both the city and Northern Ontario Secondary Schools Association (NOSSA) meets.
But OFSAA, with its large number of competitors many of them elite can be an entirely different experience.
“If at the end of the race, I’m tired and I know I couldn’t have run any harder, then I’ll be happy,” Lobert said. “I really don’t know what to expect there. But I’m excited.”
In both the city and NOSSA meets, Lobert outpaced second-place finisher Jullien Flynn of St. Basil. Lobert completed what is roughly a 3-kilometre distance at Kinsmen Park in 13:50.31 in the Oct. 17 city meet.
In last Friday’s NOSSA competition, she knocked about five seconds from that time, finishing the race in 13:45.17.
Eagles coach Lorri Purnis, whose team won the NOSSA girls aggregate title and helped the school grab the co-ed (all boys and girls combined) championship, doesn’t think Lobert will be overwhelmed by the competition at OFSAA.
“As a newcomer, she has no idea what OFSAA has in store,” Purnis said. “But she won’t let the number of competitors there discourage her from running a good race. I think she’ll do everything she can to be as close to the front of the pack as possible. She’ll do well.”
Lobert credits her father, Peter, for introducing her to cross-country running and helping her learn to love the sport.
Peter Lobert has trained his daughter and the two enjoy running together.
Lynnea began competing in elementary school and says that for her, it’s all about having fun.
“I enjoy making myself run as hard as I can and harder,” she said. “I want to keep up with everyone who’s ahead of me. I really like it. Getting to OFSAA was my goal and I’m very excited about it.”
Sault Ste. Marie will send two other individual NOSSA champions to the provincial event.
SJD’s Rhiannon Johns won the Senior Girls 5k in 20:15.23. That was more than half a minute faster than Manitoulin Secondary School’s Emma Tallman (20:46.36).
The Eagles Phil Graf ran the Midget Boys 5k in 18:19.97, just over two seconds ahead of Brad Walsh of St. Mary’s, who finished in 18:21.99.