Mac dominates The Western Invitational
Blair Morgan has just come off of the most exciting and surprising cross country season of his career, and his success is not stopping anytime soon.
Morgan, a fourth-year biochemical engineering major, finished fourth overall at the Western Invitational meet, and was the first Marauder to cross the finish line.
The final result was close to his initial goal, which was to finish first overall.
“My personal goal was to try and win, so I figured I’d just go with the lead pack and just race from there,” said Morgan.
At the beginning of the race, former training partner and Queen’s Gael runner Jeff Archer took the lead pack out hard, and Morgan tried to hold on to the grueling pace.
Marauder runner Austen Forbes also went out with Archer, so Morgan tried to stick with Forbes for the majority of the race.
In the final kilometre, Morgan was passed by two Lakehead Thunderwolves runners, along with Archer who led the race the entire way.
“It was still a pretty good first race,” said Morgan.
Comparing Morgan’s fourth place finish to his 17th place finish at the same meet last year, his first race of the season was more than pretty good. It was phenomenal.
Last season, Morgan’s breakthrough race did not come until OUA’s, where he shocked coaches and runners alike when he finished sixth overall.
Although he was making huge progress throughout the season, his sixth place finish compared with his 36th place finish at OUA’s in 2012 was both impressive and unexpected.
“It would be nice to have an amazing race at OU’s again, but I think it’s going to be more steady. I think I’ll be up at the front pack from the beginning this year,” said Morgan.
And Morgan won’t be the only Marauder that will be leading out in front.
If the results from the Western Invitational are any indication, the Marauders will have several athletes running at the front of the pack.
At the meet, the top five Marauders that counted towards scoring finished within the top 15.
Following Morgan in 4th, Austen Forbes finished 7th, Gabe Ghiglione finished 9th, Paul Rochus finished 10th and Paul Kolb finished 14th overall.
This adds up to 44 points, which was 31 points ahead of the second place Lakehead Thunderwolves.
This was all done without two of the top three runners on the team, Connor Darlington and Taylor Forbes, both of whom are more than capable of finishing within the top 5 at the meet.
These two runners are planning to race at the Queen’s Invitational meet on Oct. 11.
With this group on the line, winning a CIS medal is more than a goal—it’s an expectation.
“If everyone is healthy and on the line, we’ll have a medal,” said Morgan.
The women’s team also performed very well at the meet, finishing third overall.
Maddy McDonald was the leader for the Maroon and Grey, finishing in fourth place, a feat that got her named the McMaster Pita Pit Athlete of the Week.
Not too far behind McDonald were Kierstin Myers in 24th, Maddie Benjamin in 25th, rookie Erin Mawhinney in 28th, and Gabrielle Foran in 30th.
The Marauders will take the week to prepare for the Windsor Invitational on Sept. 27, where they will hope to keep up with the lead pack and race hard to the finish line.
Photo credit: Clive Morgan