Marauders cross country team on the right track

Laura Sinclair
September 17, 2014
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes

After a productive summer of hard work and mileage, the Marauders cross country team is back and ready to take on some of the powerhouse teams in the OUA.

Their first test will be this weekend at the Western Invitational, where select runners on the men’s and women’s team will get to lace up the spikes and prove themselves in the first race of the season.

After the time trial two weeks ago, there are already some talented athletes who stand out.

On the women’s side, the 3000m CIS finalist Maddy McDonald finished first overall and is looking to improve on last year’s cross country season, when she finished 17th overall at nationals.

“Maddy took the summer off and hasn’t done any serious competing. She just trained and didn’t have a stressful or competitive season,” said assistant coach Paula Schnurr.

Another name that stands out on the women’s side is Phoebe Cseresnyes, who unfortunately was faced with an injury at the beginning of last year’s cross country season.

Cseresnyes is now completely healthy, and is expected to be a top performer for the Marauders throughout this season and future seasons in both cross country and track.

As far as female rookies go, Erin Mawhinney will be the leader of the young pack, which she proved after her outstanding performance at time trial, which saw her finish third overall.

Local rookie and Westdale Secondary School graduate Lauren Locco will also be a force to be reckoned in upcoming seasons, finishing right behind women’s captain Chelsea Mackinnon in time trial.

Veteran runner Maddie Benjamin managed to surprise the coaches in her debut, finishing fourth overall and impressing both coaches.

The main goal for the women’s team this year is to maintain their top six finish overall from last year, a goal that head coach Rory Sneyd sees as being reachable with the right amount of work put in.

“I kind of get the sense with the women’s team that we have enough talent, and if we can stay healthy, that a few people will work themselves into shape,” said Sneyd.

“I see the best running for them in late October and in November for sure.”

As for the men’s team, they are looking to reach the CIS podium this year after being close to doing so last year.

The main goal for the men’s team is to keep everyone healthy, so the best seven on the team will be ready to race hard at Nationals in November.

If this is the case, the team will be heavily favoured to win a CIS medal.

Among the best Marauders on the line will be captain Blair Morgan, who just got off of a ground-breaking season, finishing sixth overall at OUA’s and 11th overall at CIS.

“[Morgan] has got a ton of confidence from how he performed in cross country last year and he had the opportunity to represent Canada at the World University Games Cross country Championships in Uganda, so I think that just having run with the other members of Team Canada and just getting to know them, he feels like he belongs now,” said Sneyd.

Austen and Taylor Forbes will also be ahead of the pack, after coming off of very successful summers that saw the twins reach the national triathlon championships, with Taylor Forbes then advancing to Worlds.

Paul Rochus is also a name that stands out on the men’s side. He finished second overall in the time trial and has put in a lot of mileage over the summer months.

Nick Kondrat, who was injured with a stress fracture early on last year is also looking to have a successful cross country season, as he was the top rookie coming into the program last season.

Kondrat worked hard through his injury to come out on top in time trial, finishing third overall.

The coaches were surprised by Derek VanSchepen’s performance, as he did not make the top seven last year, but after his debut performance at time trial where he finished fourth, the odds are in his favour.

Another athlete that the Marauders coaches are looking forward to seeing race includes Gabe Ghiglione, a runner that started at the back of the pack and has quickly worked his way to the top of it in the last two years.

“[Ghiglione] really surprised us last year and he’s such a great competitor, that I think there will be some extra expectations after his success last year, but I think he’s okay with that,” said Schnurr.

Out of the recruits on the men’s side, the coaches are excited about Evan Ubene, who was the first rookie to cross the finish line at time trial, and Frank Sorbara, who is completing his Masters of Physio here at Mac.

If the men’s top runner Connor Darlington stays healthy for the CIS Championships, settling on the top seven to put forward for the provincial and national championships will be difficult for the coaches.

“It’s going to be really hard to decide who’s not going to make it. It’s a good problem to have, but it’s going to be really tough,” said Sneyd.

Before Sneyd and Schnurr have to worry about making any difficult decisions, the team still has to run their first race of the season.

The team will be travelling to Western University on Sept. 20, where they will look to put in a solid team effort to start the season.


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