St. Mary's Knights senior boys runner Daniel Turco (166) jumps out to the lead en route to winning the seven kilometre race on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011
He knows his long-term goal won't be easy to attain.
But neither is out-distancing 17 others to finish first in a cross-country race.
Daniel Turco did the latter on Wednesday.
He won the Senior Boys Division's 7-kilometre event at the City High School Cross-Country Championships at Kinsmen Park.
Performances such as that, he hopes, could one day help him become a scholarship athlete south of the border.
And, if that doesn't work out, the 17-year-old Grade 12 student at St. Mary's College would love to run at the University of Guelph.
"They've got the No. 1 cross-country team in Canada," Turco said, moments after completing a dominant performance in the city meet.
Getting out in front early, he finished in a time of 24:35.58, more than a minute ahead of runner-up Sam Taylor (25:49.60) of White Pines.
Anthony Ziccarelli (26:45.41) was third, leading a Korah string of four consecutive finishers.
That helped the Colts take the senior team championship, although Superior Heights won the overall boys title and the aggregate championship after all boys and girls points were combined.
"It feels great to finally win," said Turco, who'd never before won a city cross-country title.
A year ago, he placed fourth in the city meet as a Senior Division runner and 10th at the Northern Ontario Secondary Schools Association (NOSSA) championships.
As a junior runner in Grade 10, Turco was second in the city and fourth at NOSSA.
And, in his first year of high school, the then-Grade 9 student placed fourth among midgets against city competition and 10th against those representing Northern Ontario.
Asked about the improvement in his performance, Turco chalked it up to hard work.
"I was pretty disappointed with my finish last year, so I trained hard over the summer," he said.
Turco praised Lorri Purnis, who coaches the Sault Athletic Club, for his steady rise.
Purnis also coaches the Superior Heights Steelhawks high school team.
And the runner also wanted to thank his mother, Suzanne Turco, for constantly motivating him and making sure he arrived at all of his training sessions.
"My goal today (Wednesday) was to finish in the top three and to record a personal best," said Turco, who did achieve a PB. "But I didn't feel very comfortable the entire race. I wasn't breathing well."
Nerves, he explained, may have been a factor.
"There was a lot of pressure," Turco continued. "But I got out fast and had the lead pretty much the whole way. I accomplished what I wanted to and hopefully, I'll put in a better time at NOSSA."
This year's NOSSA meet is set for a week from Friday at Kinsmen Park.
With the event slated for the Sault, all local runners who finished races in the city meet are eligible to compete.
Taylor said overall, he was happy with his performance but wishes he "could have kept him (Turco) in my sight the whole race. Then, I could have done better."
Taylor explained how he lost sight of Turco about 10 minutes into the race.
"After that, I gave it my all," the White Pines runner said.
Korah's Karl Zimmerman (28:03.35) and teammates Stephen Maloney (29:34.80) and Corey Conforzi (29:43.11) grabbed spots 4-6.
Seventh place belonged to Jordan Tomasone (29:52.79) of St. Mary's.
Jacob McLean (30:47.08) of White Pines wound up eighth, one spot better than Korah's Anthony Iacoe (31:09.52), and two ahead of Iacoe's teammate, Morgan Harman (31:37.79).
Meantime, in the Junior Division, Kye Heimonen of Superior Heights grabbed top spot in the 6k event, while also leading the Steelhawks to the team championship.
Heimonen finished in 23:49.64, good for a decisive victory over Ben Stewart (24:37.63) of White Pines.
Stewart was followed by St. Basil's Alex Camirand (24:54.62) and Korah's Ignacio Arguilles (28:41.35).
Dalton Hertz (29:32.96) of Superior Heights wound up fifth, one spot ahead of Chris Howe (29:33.36) of White Pines. Matthew Boston (31:35.57) of Superior Heights was seventh, while teammate Caleb Charlebois (34:38.11) was eighth and St. Basil's Cameron Della Savia (36:14.10) ninth.
The top 10 was rounded out by Connor Nelson (36:36.58) of St. Mary's.
In midget competition, teammates Carter Lobert (20:07.87) and Lucas Luciani (21:36.49) finished 1-2 to help Superior Heights grabbed team honours in the 5k race.
Korah's Chris Moskal (22:05.51) placed third, one spot ahead of Matthew Sparling (22:21.91) of St. Mary's.
Fifth place belonged to Korah's Brady McClelland (22:30.34). His teammate, Denver Black (23:39.84), wound up sixth while Daniel Roussain (24:00.23) of St. Mary's placed seventh.
John Baxter (24:29.59) of Superior Heights was eighth, followed by the Steelhawks Wyatt Fremlin (24:58.53) and Brandon Acorn (25:49.54) of White Pines.