Superior Heights Collegiate star Marissa Lobert (left), embraces her teammate and good friend, Amelia Marrato after the two finished first and second, respectively, in the senior girls race on Wednesday, Oct,. 19, 2011.
By constantly pushing each other, Marissa Lobert and Amelia Marrato gave Superior Heights a sweep of the top two Senior Girls Divisions Wednesday, in the City High School Cross-Country Championships at Kinsmen Park.
Close friends since Grade 1, Lobert finished the 5-kilometre run in 20:32.53, more than a minute ahead of Marrato, who completed the course in 21:48.37.
Their efforts helped lead the Steelhawks team to a first-place finish in senior girls, a first in the girls overall standings and an aggregate championship, when all girls and boys results are combined.
"For sure, it's special we could finish first and second," said Lobert, who, like Marrato, is a 16-year-old, Grade 11 student. "I really wanted to do my best and I wanted to win. And I'm happy she had a strong race, too."
"I knew it would be either her or me winning," said Marrato. "You always want to win, but it doesn't really matter to me. We're competitive with each other, but we wish each other well."
The two say their friendship was instant. They have a lot of the same interests swimming is one sport they mentioned allowing them to form a strong connection.
"They push each other and support each other," said Steelhawks head coach Lorri Purnis. "Amelia is faster for the shorter distances and Marissa is faster in the longer distances."
Because of that, Purnis continued, depending on the distance being run in training sessions, one is always driving the other.
"But all of our girls push each other and raise the bar for each other," Purnis added.
A year ago, while running in the Junior Division as Grade 10 students, Lobert won the city title and placed second at the Northern Ontario Secondary Schools Association (NOSSA) championships.
Marrato placed second in the city meet and third in NOSSA.
As midget competitors in Grade 9, Marrato emerged as the city champion, before finishing fifth at NOSSA. Lobert was second in the city and later grabbed a third against Northern Ontario competition.
"I got out in front early and I'm happy with how I ran," Lobert said of Wednesday's race. "The trail was nice, the temperature was nice and the weather conditions were perfect. It feels good to win and I'm hoping to have a better time at NOSSA. I'll try my best and I'd like to win NOSSA."
This year's Northern Ontario championships are scheduled for a week from Friday at Kinsmen Park. With the event being hosted locally, all Sault Ste. Marie competitors are eligible to take part.
"This was one of my best races," Marrato said. "I think I ran well. I know I ran faster when coach Purnis told me that Allie Holley (of White Pines) was right behind me on the first hill. It wasn't the truth, but it made me run faster."
Purnis was on the course, spurring on her team members, when the race was being run.
Rachel MacLennan (23:39.34) of St. Mary's wound up third, followed by Taylor Dewling (23:39.98) of St. Basil and Holley (23:40.91), who placed fifth.
Wendy Mihell (23:58.96) of Superior Heights was sixth, followed by teammates Danielle Dupuis (24:10.50) and Nicole McKenney (24:15.20).
Mikayla Mlynarczyk (24:21.85) of St. Basil grabbed ninth spot and Michelle Fabbro (24:31.24) of St. Mary's rounded out the top 10.
Meantime, Sabrina Marsh won the junior girls 4k, helping lead Korah to that division's team championship.
Marsh finished with a time of 20:07.94. That was nearly 18 seconds better than the second-place finisher, Alicia Mlynarczyk (20:25.51) of St. Basil.
Katrina Brain (20:58.32) of White Pines grabbed third spot, while Emilie Aloe (21:42.04) of St. Basil followed.
Fifth place belonged to Breanna Browne (21:48.21) of Superior Heights, who finished just ahead of teammate Madeline Christensen (21:57.09).
Korah's Krista Buckner (22:27.91) wound up seventh, followed by Kristina Richer (23:13.10) of St. Mary's.
Hannah Roberts (23:57.57) of Korah placed ninth and Juliana Lesage-Corbiere (24:01.20) of St. Mary's rounded out the top 10.
In the Midget Division, Lydia Heimonen of Superior Heights grabbed first place in the 3k run to help her team also make it into the winner's circle.
Heimonen's time was 14:17.36. That was more than 11 seconds ahead of teammate Erika Mihell (14:28.59).
Korah's Erin Lee (15:38.69) grabbed third place, followed by Jenni Richardson (15:46.82) of St. Basil and Julia Pulente (15:49.90) of St. Mary's.
Kirsten Corbett (16:01.69) of White Pines wound up in sixth place, one spot ahead of Korah's Audrey Steele (16:12.55).
Danielle McKenney (16:47.54) of Superior Heights placed eighth while Sarah Gelmych (17:10.90) of Korah was ninth. Adriane Mallinger (17:15.46) of Superior Heights completed the top 10.