TFS cross-country star credits Havergal rival as inspiration
You can’t keep a Stafford down.
That’s a lesson you’ll learn when you talk with Lucia Stafford about her cross-country and track running.
She’s one of three Stafford children who run: sister Gabriela, 19, ran before her and competes for the University of Toronto, while soccer-playing brother Nicholas, 9, is beginning to set his sights on cross-country.
The 16-year-old Grade 11 student shared this, along with her triumphs and missteps, from running with TFS: Canada’s International School — including her midget year when she tripped at the start of the OFSAA race, and still managed to finish 21st out of 264 girls.
On Nov. 1 in Waterloo, however, Stafford is eyeing a Top 10 finish in cross-country at OFSAA.
She punched her ticket Oct. 21 in style, finishing first in the senior girls category at the CISAA championship at Trinity College School in Port Hope.
She was still beaming from that finish when the Town Crier caught up with her in the library at TFS two days later.
“It’s a challenging course,” she said of the under-5km course, which she finished in 16 minutes, 30.55 seconds.
She’s had plenty of success in the past at OFSAA, winning a silver medal in 800-metre junior girls track (2:17.12), and finishing seventh last year in cross-country (16:25).
Stafford admitted the competition in cross-country is tough.
“It’s definitely a lot more competitive, and my main focus is OFSAA track,” she said. “It’s a really deep field, so I’m hoping for a good race.”
One of her rivals, Caroline Lampard of Havergal College, is a source of inspiration. The two have competed against each other for years.
“She definitely challenged me, and it was tough,” Stafford said of the CISAA run. “But I felt good afterwards.”
What is it about cross-country and track that gets her feet moving? It’s all about the competition, and the thrill of running a good race.
“I’m very ambitious too, so it can take me very far, from that perspective,” she said. “It’s really fulfilling, and it keeps me level-headed and balanced.”
Stafford is already looking at the University of Toronto, where many in her family have gone, and some U.S. schools for post secondary endeavours. She avers that she’ll continue to run, but also looks to pursue civil engineering or architecture as her possible fields of study.
She’s currently enrolled in the international baccalaureate arts program at TFS.
As for any jitters heading into the race Nov. 1, she has none. Even though she missed the pre-OFSAA race Oct. 9 due to a geography field trip, she’s done her homework by watching the video of the course.
“I might go down and jog it one day,” she said. “It’s pretty flat.
“I’m more of a track and field runner, and cross-country is just base for me, [but] I also like to do well in it.”