Based on the weekend performances of two of their youngest runners, it appears Sir James Dunn's reputation as a local cross-country power is likely to remain in tact for at least a few more years.
Fourteen-year-olds Phil Graf and Lynnea Lobert both secured 22nd-place finishes Saturday - tops among Sault entries - at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Cross-Country Championships in Niagara Falls.
Graf finished the Midget Boys Division's 5-kilometre event, which featured 233 runners, in 17:30.7. The winning time was 16:13.2.
Lobert ran the Midget Girls Division's 3k in 11:10.01, beating the vast majority of 231 entrants. The winning time was 10:21.2.
She also helped the Dunn midgets finish 13th in team standings out of 36 schools.
The Eagles impressed in Senior Girls Division team standings as well, placing 12th out of 35 entries.
"It was a pretty good race for me and I'm pleased with my finish," said Graf, who captured top spot in both the city and Northern Ontario Secondary Schools Association (NOSSA) competitions. "I did as well as I could have."
The Grade 9 student found the OFSAA race distinctive because of the sheer number of runners.
"It's tough at the start," he said. "You need a good placement at the beginning of the race."
Lobert, also a city and NOSSA champion, agreed.
"I'm used to there not being so many runners around me," the Grade 9 runner said. "The start was really crazy. You have to be able to get out really fast."
The Eagles runner said she ran her best, and that made her finish satisfying.
"The pace was fast and I did as well as I could," Lobert said. "It was a good experience and I know what it's like there now."
The Dunn midget team also included Maggie Kirkwood, Catherine Mallinger, Jennifer Glassford and Arianna Christenson.
The SJD senior squad featured Rhiannon Johns, who placed 46th and Nora Saunders, 67th, in the 5k race. Erin Mallinger, Wendy Oleskiw and Hilary Mallinger rounded out the team.
Among individual runners, St. Basil's Jullien Flynn wound up 32nd in midget girls.
In midget boys, the Dunn's Tyler Davie was 55th and Brad Walsh of St. Mary's finished 61st. SJD's Dom Graf, Phil's older brother, placed 56th in the senior boys 7k.