img_4562The fourth annual Dave Watson Memorial Invitational Cross Country meet was held on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at the Ganaraska Conservation Area. Over 150 athletes ran the hilly course, which varied in distance from four to six kilometres, depending on age division.

Participating schools included LCVI, St. Thomas Aquinas SS, and I.E. Weldon SS who arrived around 9:00 a.m. Coaches and runners pitched their tents and walked the course to get a feel for the impending races. The first race took place at 11:00 a.m., beginning with the Midget Division, followed by the Senior boys races at 2:00 p.m.

Senior athlete Sadie-Jane Hickson from LCVI ran the race for her fifth year, and snagged first place in the six-kilometre senior girls’ race with a time of 23 minutes and 15 seconds. Hickson, a long-time athlete, is primarily a track star, but also holds her own in the cross country world. When asked about her relationships with both cross country and track and field, she says, “Sprinting is fun, but I have definitely excelled in distance.” Although she won first place at the invitational meet this year and the previous two years, she hasn’t always taken the red ribbon home; in fact, she’s actually never medalled in cross country. “I had to earn it… I’m content with being top twenty,” she comments.

Hickson attributes her success not only to her coaches and trainers, but to her mom, who has always encouraged her and her sisters to participate in sports. Hickson also noted that she’s a perfectionist and has always pushed herself to do well. “You have to put in the work to get the results.”

To the typical onlooker, it may seem that all runners only want to compete for first place, but Hickson abolishes this assumption by expressing that her love for running exists because she’s pushing herself to do better each time. She also notes that sports such as cross country are great for health, as only 12 per cent of Canadian school-aged children meet their daily recommended exercise levels. Sports not only motivate students to push themselves and get enough exercise, but they also create a strong, unique community. “You get to meet so many people. It brings like-minded people together,” she says.

Hickson is now a victory lapper at LCVI and plans to attend post-secondary school and continue her interests as a professional athlete. The cross country season continues Friday, October 14th at Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area in Northumberland County.

 Article and photos by Koral Lambert.