Cold, wind dampen high school relays

The 23rd annual Nike Boardwalk relays was run in less than ideal conditions on Friday in the Toronto beaches, but it didn’t seem to affect Neil McNeil much.

Maroons’ head coach Steve Masterson was pleased with the effort of his midget group (Grade 9), which finished fourth in its event.

“There’s nothing you can do,” Masterson said of the extreme winds and chilly temperatures.

“You just tell the kids that they’ve got to tough it out. It’s survival of the fittest.”

The estimated conditions at the Beaches were slightly below six degrees, with roughly 30-35 km/h winds – hardly optimal for a sport that involves a t-shirt and shorts.

“Mother Nature doesn’t wait for anybody,” Masterson conceded.

Sacred Heart and Pickering finished first in the midget boys and girls races, respectively, while Sacred Heart also claimed the open competition (Grades 10-12) on the girls’ side.

Still, it was the unfavorable climate that seemed to be the hot topic.

“We’ve never had wind like this,” event convener Alan Baigent said. “We’ve had cold and snow, but never wind like this.”

Baigent has been a part of the event since its inception, giving those not in attendance an idea of just how rough the conditions were.

Andrew Costello, an 11th grader for Neil McNeil, slightly altered his course in an attempt to deal with the windy weather.

“On the way back I drifted in behind the competition so I could break the wind,” Costello said, still slightly out of breath from his effort.

This year’s race marked Costello’s third, and like many, he felt it was his most difficult yet.

“Usually it gets easier, but not this year,” he said. [Because of the weather] this year was a lot harder.”