Young Runner Saves Best for Last (Mark Zwolinksi, The Toronto Star)


Ian Gallagher decided to play cat and mouse with Brian Lucas when
it came down to a contest between the two for the Metro Separate
School Board elementary schools' cross-country title for
13-year-old boys.

And when the 3.5-kilometre run was over, the cat won.

Gallagher worked his strategy to perfection at Earl Bales Park
yesterday, overtaking the front-running Lucas in the late stages
of the race before a victorious sprint to the finish line.

"I just kept pushing him further and further . . . and then I was
lucky enough to have enough left for the end," said the
out-of-breath St. Joseph's runner, just after collecting himself
at the finish line alongside Lucas, who ran for St. Elizabeth

The head-to-head battle highlighted the day-long meet which
attracted about 880 runners from 135 schools and saw Blessed
Sacrament's 10-year team championship reign ended by St. Jerome.

Gallagher's victory was not without controversy, however. Gallagher
was observed to have run on the wrong side of a course marker,
shaving off a small distance from the run.

Meet convenor Phil Riddell, however, after consulting with both
runners, awarded the win to Gallagher.

"We had a complaint from a coach (St. Elizabeth Seton) but because
the course is staffed by students, we went to the runners for the
final decision," Riddell said. "He (Gallagher) admitted he cut
over the marker, but Lucas said it didn't matter because he was so
far ahead. I think he (Lucas) deserves some kind of sportsmanship
award . . . he's very honest."

Riddell was forced to make another decision when a similar incident
evolved during a hotly contested race for 12-year-old boys.
Riddell made Ben Correia of Senho Santo Cristo and Scott Speedman
of St. Timothy co-winners after Correia missed the final course

Lucas led from the starting gun and held it until Gallagher bolted
past him with the finish line just 200 metres away.

"I'm happy with the way I ran. I don't have a lot of experience in
this distance. I've only run one 10 kilometre before," Lucas said.

The day ended with Blessed Sacrament settling for second place
over-all in the team standings with 785 points to St. Jerome,
which turned in a winning 893 points. St. Maria Goretti finished
third with 562.


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