Sault Stryders
Running Club

Marrato seeks top three finish in NOSSA Cross-Country event
Reported October 27, 2011 by Peter Ruicci for The Sault Star
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

She's been to the all-Ontarios before and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.

But Amelia Marrato wants to make a return trip to the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) cross-country championships.

And to do so, she knows she'll have to perform well Friday.

The 16-year-old from Superior Heights is seeking "a top-3 finish" in the Senior Girls Division at the Northern Ontario Secondary Schools Association (NOSSA) championships, which begin at 11 a.m. at Kinsmen Park.

Sault runners will be joined by the best from across Northern Ontario with berths in this year's OFSAA event, slated for Nov. 5 in Ottawa, at stake.

"My ultimate goal is to qualify for OFSAA either as an individual or as part of our team," said Marrato, a Grade 11 student who finished second in last Wednesday's city meet.

The top three runners in each class, plus members of the top two NOSSA teams, earn the right to compete at the provincial level.

Marrato completed the 5-kilometre city run in 21:48.37, a personal best, but still more than a minute behind teammate and good friend Marissa Lobert (20:32.53).

The Superior Heights team, which also included Danielle McKenney, Adriane Mallinger and Star Perry, won the team championship.

Marrato thinks her chances of qualifying for OFSAA "are pretty good."

She spoke of how strong the Steelhawks team is and how a year ago, competing as juniors, the team qualified for provincials.

"And I think if Marissa and I push each other hard enough, we can both qualify," Marrato added. "I want to try to keep as close to the front of the pack as possible, and set another personal best time."

Asked about the importance of having a home trail advantage, Marrato believes the fact the event is at Kinsmen Park is especially beneficial to Sault runners.

"That's because it's a hilly course," she said, noting how out-of-town competitors first look at Kinsmen Park came on Thursday night.

A year ago, running in the junior division, Marrato was third at NOSSA and 33rd at OFSAA.

In Grade 9, after winning the city title in midget, she finished fifth at NOSSA and 30th against all-Ontario competition.

"I'm very excited," Marrato said. "I actually enjoy training and being part of a team more than running the actual race. But I'll be very determined come Friday."

Following the 11 a.m. midget girls race, midget boys are scheduled to hit the trails at 11:30 a.m. today.

Junior girls and junior boys race at 12 noon and 12:30 p.m., respectively.

After that, the seniors battle it out with the girls race slated for 1:15 p.m., followed by the boys at 1:45 p.m.

Along with Lobert, champions from the city meet include: Korah's Sabrina Marsh (junior girls), Lydia Heimonen of Superior Heights (midget girls), Daniel Turco of St. Mary's (senior boys), Kye Heimonen of Superior Heights (junior boys) and Carter Lobert of Superior Heights (midget boys).