Seven members of the Thorold Elite Track Club made their mark at the recent AAU Cross Country National Championships held at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Fla., the site of the 2026 World Cross Country Championships.
T.J. Woods, a silver medalist in the novice boys division at the recent Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championships, won a silver medal in the 14-year-old boys division and Thorold Elite’s 13-14 boys team, made up of Woods, Evan Blake, Deagen Hallett, Chase Larsen, Levi de Andrade Sampaio, Jacob Millen and Brock Piekny, also captured a silver medal.
Other top 10 individual results were turned in by: Hallett who was sixth in the 13-year-old boys division; Blake who was 10th in the 14-year-old boys event; and, de Andrade Sampaio who placed 10th in the 13-year-old boys division.
Woods and Hallett earned the distinction of being an All-American for their top 8 finishes.
“In Canada, there is only a national championship for the U18 age group and older so some of them had raced in Ottawa the previous weekend, but we knew we had a really strong group of 14 and under boys who won gold in Ontario and we wanted to see how they would stack up against greater competition so racing in the States provides those opportunities for athletes who may be a little younger but still at that calibre,” said Steven Fife, who coached the team along with Cheryl Rosts and Kelly Uskin.
More than 1,400 athletes took part in the event that was delayed 90 minutes because of inclement weather. The races ended up being staged in the midst of torrential downpours and flood warnings.