Cross-country runner is headed to Jamaica
Photo by Neil Etienne
December 19, 2012
BRACEBRIDGE - If Natalia Hawthorn’s trail leads to the under-19 world championship cross-country championships in Poland, it will go through Jamaica first.
The Grade 12 Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School student found out via email the week of Dec. 12 that she has been accepted and earned her way on to the Canadian national team headed to the North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) cross-country championships in Jamaica during early March 2013.
“I never thought I’d have the opportunity to go there,” she said, beaming.
Hawthorn earned the opportunity coming out in the top-six of eligible runners in the late-November national cross-country championships for women under 19 years of age, held in British Columbia. It was her fourth trip to the national finals as part of the provincial team and she set a personal best at the race to earn her berth on the national squad.
“I’m really looking forward to racing in Jamaica,” she said. “It’s my first time going to a meet representing Canada, so it’s definitely an exciting experience.”
The news came as a big relief for Hawthorn, who had to wait a couple of weeks after her nationals race to hear if she’d be moving on. She had a photo finish in B.C. and had a nervous wait after that to find out she was in fact moving on.
It’s a nice way to finish off 2012, she said, as this was her first year back running since taking a year off due to leg injuries.
Her first race back this season saw her reach 12th place at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations cross-country championships in Brampton in late October, followed by a stellar third-place finish at the Athletics Ontario cross-country championships held in Kingston Nov. 10, earning her the berth to nationals.
She explained Team Canada needs its team to finish in the top two at the NACAC tournament to qualify for the worlds, to be held later in March in Poland.
“Usually, Canada and U.S.A. finish in the top two, but who knows, anything can happen,” she said.
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