Plenty of bits, bites to chew on

Overdue congratulations to district runners who turned in some great results at a pair of running events last month.
At the Walker North Country Races in Walker, Mn. on Sept. 21, Devlin resident Freeda Carmody, 75, placed first in the female 70-and-up age category in the half-marathon with a time of 3:27.30.
Fellow Devlin runner Neila Booth placed third in the female 55-59 age category in the same race, crossing the finish line a tick behind Carmody at 3:27.31.
In the 10K men’s event, Justin Booth was the lone local entrant and came out on top in the 40-44 age division—and 17th overall in the men’s category—with his mark of 50:12.
Among the women in the 10K race, Nicole Evans of Fort Frances placed fourth in the female age 35-39 division—and eighth overall among 109 participating women—with a clocking of 54:48.
Kendall Richardson of the Fort was fifth in the same age group (and 11th overall in the women’s division) with a time of 55:58 while Lonna Oster was seventh in the age group—and 16th overall—at 57:00.
Joelle Labute of Fort Frances was second in the female 25-29 age group (and 13th overall) in a time of 56:07.
Heather Wright rounded out the local results in the 10K women’s event by placing sixth in the 30-34 age division (and 37th overall) with a time of 1:03.59.
Meanwhile, the annual “Miles with the Giant” event took place in Thunder Bay on Sept. 22, with several local runners taking part.
Arthur Van Ael of Fort Frances was fourth out of 58 men (and fifth out of 207 overall competitors) in the 10K run with a time of 43:54, not far behind race winner Stewart Schmidt from Thunder Bay (40:19).
Alex Gustafson of here was 10th among males (and 17th overall) with a clocking of 47:46.
Ilka Milne, meanwhile, was the best local female 10K runner, placing 18th among women (and 40th overall) with a mark of 51:37.
Another Fort racer, Nicole Wall, was 39th among women (and 74th overall) with a time of 57:15.
In the female half-marathon, Shelley Hughes-Gustafson led the local contingent with a 23rd-place finish out of 234 runners in a time of 1:44.35.
She was followed by fellow Fort Frances runners Nancy Witherspoon (80th, 1:58.54) and Allison Hyatt (121st, 2;07.55); Hyatt’s mother, Brenda Ferris-Hyatt, from Mine Centre (2:11.01); Fort Frances’ Amanda Lahti (174th, 2:18.26); Lana Smith from Devlin (204th, 2:30.08); and Stratton’s Alexis Sharp (225th, 2:41.20).
In the full marathon, Lorena Jenks of Fort Frances hustled to an 11th-place result among 25 women (and 51st overall among 79 competitors) with a time of 4:02.11.
The only local male participant was Jeffrey Gustafson of here, who was 53rd among 54 men (and 76th overall) with a mark of 4:36.04.
A big high-five to all those who competed. My longest run these days is around a softball diamond and I’m out of gas by the time I reach third base.
• • •
I’ll go on the record right now and say the NorWOSSA girls’ basketball championships may be decided in Dryden on Nov. 8, but the road to the title will go through the Muskies.
Both the Fort High senior and junior girls’ hoops squads were 3-0 in league play heading into yesterday’s action against the visiting Kenora Broncos (the outcome wasn’t known by press time).
They look like leadpipe cinches to lock down first place in the regular season. That, in turn, will save them the problem of playing a NorWOSSA semi-final game, which is huge in terms of being fresh for the final versus the semi-final survivor who already has played earlier in the day.
True, there are improvements both sides can make. The seniors need to cut down on turnovers and not get complacent against their lesser-skilled opponents.
The juniors, meanwhile, have to get away from their tendency to foul.
The Muskie hoopsters are tough now. Fix those problems and they will be unstoppable.
• • •
While I’m tossing out predictions, I’ll take the L.A. Dodgers to go all the way and win the World Series.
They have got the pitching (Clayton Kershaw), the hitting (Adrian Gonzalez/Yasiel Puig), and the world’s most-beloved broadcaster (Vin Scully).
Scully, who at 85 still calls a better game alone than any two or three-man broadcasting team, deserves to celebrate one more Dodgers’ title.
• • •
I love NHL hockey, don’t get me wrong.
But watching my grandson, Damien Hunt, and his fellow IP minor hockey players take their first strides this past two weeks, I marvel at how even the slightest improvement seems like a massive accomplishment in the eyes of those watching and cheering their personal favourites.
I would guess there’s more real affection in the hearts of the dozens on hand supporting the young Gretzkys and Wickenheisers-to-be than can be found even in a jam-packed Bell Centre or Air Canada Centre.

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