Halloween weekend was a busy couple of days for the Humber Hawks.
Both cross-country teams took home golds, while the Humber soccer teams faced both the triumph of victory and the disappointment of defeat.
All three of the teams’ coaching staff were awarded OCAA Coach of the Year honours.
More impressive than both men’s and women’s cross country teams teams winning gold is the manner in which they won. Despite cross country running being largely a solo sport, the Humber Hawks flew together.
Neither the men’s nor the women’s team had a podium finalist in the OCAA championships. They instead had all of their runners stay close and collectively finish high in the standings, accumulating more team points than the schools with one or two fast times.
“You run as an individual but you win as a team, and that is what it comes down to,” said Teresa Arnini, Humber’s men’s and women’s cross country co-head coach.
Arnini was glowing when she spoke about the character of the team this year.
“Because they run so tight and so much in a pact, that allows us to have that uniqueness about them,” Arnini said. “We have talented individuals, but the talent exudes itself when we have all of them together.”
The cross country Hawks aim to run all over the competition Nov. 13 at the Nationals in Brockville.
The women’s soccer team went up against a Cambrian team which, during the regular season, played two more games than Humber. The game was scoreless for a full 90 minutes and an overtime, which forced a lengthy round of penalty kicks. The Hawks were outlasted by the Cambrian Golden Shield in penalty kicks for a second straight year.
Pileggi had nothing but respect for opposing Cambrian.
“They had a very specific game plan, and they executed that game plan very well, and I thought their goalie played extremely well.”
Despite an early exit from provincials this year, the women’s team were central division champions during the regular season.
The men’s team went all the way and won the OCAA provincial championship, satisfying a hunger from a silver medal finish last year. The Hawks were the provincial champions for all four years before 2014, winning the national championship back-to-back in 2013 and 2014.
Michael Aquino, head coach of the men’s soccer team, knows they are in tough against the host squad of Champlain in Quebec for game one.
“We’re playing the host, we’re playing a good team, so we have to prepare accordingly, but we aren’t wary of anybody per se. We have a very good team, probably as the rankings say number one in the country so we can compete with anybody on any given day,” Aquino said.