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Kuzyk happy to make up for last year’s disappointment

Ones for the future: Kuzyk beat Outerbridge by four seconds to win his first Heritage Junior Classic title (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Quincy Kuzyk and Ashley Irby won their first junior titles in the Heritage Day Junior Classic yesterday, adding their names to a list of former winners that includes Tyler Butterfield, who went on to win the half-marathon, Aaron Evans, Tyler Smith, Trey Simons, Kyrah Scraders and Ashley Berry.

Kuzyk and Irby, both 14 and competing in their respective 13-15 age group, beat out last year’s overall winners Ryan Outerbridge and Selah Tuzo who was going for a fourth straight title among the girls.

Tuzo (12), who tied Scraders’s girls record last year when she completed the two-mile race in 12min 14sec, was twelfth overall in 12.32 yesterday, although she did win the 11-12 age group.

Kuzyk’s time of 11.05 was just four seconds faster than Outerbridge whose time of 11.09 was 16 seconds faster than his winning time a year ago.

Robert Edwards was third overall in 11.29 while Kahzi Sealey (11.35) and Iziah Tucker (11.38) completed the top five. Sealey was first in the 11-12 age group.

“I feel pretty good about winning, it was a good event,” said Kuzyk, who was third last year in 11.31.

“I managed to get a pretty good lead but it got closed up so I had to try to hold off Ryan.

“It was really close and when I turned around I slipped a little bit, but then I started sprinting and I think I lost him there.

“We were both giving our all but I just had a little bit left in the tank.

“I feel pretty good, it was disappointing last year when I just missed out. Last year, I was third overall and second in my age group so I really wanted to win this year.

“It was really nice, the sun decided to come out today and the crowd was really loud, cheering us on and it helped everybody come across the line faster.”

Outerbridge, 13, also found the conditions challenging as the runners came through Cedar Avenue at a slow pace.

“I felt good about my performance, but it was very hot,” said the Clearwater Middle School pupil.

“I thought I did good and got a better time than last year. I really enjoy running in this race because there’s lots of cheering from the fans which keeps you moving.”

Irby left it all out there as she held off a challenge from the defending champion to win by 13 seconds, finishing eighth overall. Tuzo was twelfth overall.

“I’m happy about winning, it was a tough race so I think everyone did well,” Irby said.

“It was very tiring. This is my first time doing it, but I did the relay last year, the end part, which was similar to this.”

Jade Johnston (11-12) was the third female in 13.20 while Kayla Raymond (13-15) was fourth female in 13.32, just a second ahead of Jessica Bruton (11-12) in 13.33 while Holly Bruton (13-15) crossed the line in 13.41.