Men's and women's cross country have top finishes despite harsh weather conditions
The wind, rain and mud were not enough to hold back the Marauders cross country team on Oct. 26. at Chedoke golf course here in Hamilton.
In these awful conditions, the men’s team was able to finish second overall, a finish that has improved their CIS ranking from sixth place overall to second. The women’s team finished sixth overall, which was a finish that head coach Rory Sneyd did not see coming.
“Toronto is a bit better than I thought. I thought our women might be able to give them a run but we are not quite there yet,” said Sneyd.
In the women’s race, the Toronto Varsity Blues finished third overall, the Queen’s Gaels finished fourth overall and the Windsor Lancers finished fifth overall, which brought the Marauders in sixth spot.
“It was disappointing that Windsor nipped our women for that 5th place spot. I thought our third, fourth and fifth runners ran well – Kierstin Myers, Emily Nowak, Raquel Burgess. Unfortunately, we did not have the low sticks we typically do. We expect this to change at the CIS Championships” said Sneyd.
The low sticks that were missing for this race were Maddy McDonald, and Courtney Patterson- two runners that typically finish within the top 15, or 20 at OUA’s, but this year finished within the top 30.
Although the team finished in sixth, which was a finish they want to improve on, they still have their eyes on the prize at CIS Championships, and all of the top seven runners can pull out a great race under pressure as they have done several times throughout their running careers.
The men’s team managed to surprise a lot of the other teams at the championships, finishing second overall, and beating out strong teams like the Queen’s Gaels, and the Windsor Lancers to get there.
This has been the men’s team’s best finish in the OUA championship in several years, and the surprising finish labeled head coach Rory Sneyd as the men’s cross country coach of the year.
Leading the pack for the men was captain Blair Morgan, who had an excellent race, finishing in sixth place overall, which was a major improvement from last year’s 36th place finish.
“I think the main difference between this season and any other was the amount of base training I got in at the end of the summer, up around 120km a week this year,” said Morgan.
Morgan was surprised with his result, and felt as though his team ran faster than he could have ever thought.
“Coming into the race, I had figured that the team had a really good shot at bronze, and if we ran well we could potentially take down Windsor for the silver.”
Individually, Morgan was thinking he could finish well too—but not as well as how he ran in the race.
“I was thinking top 20, maybe second team All-Star if it was a great day. I definitely exceeded all my goals for that race by far, as we were significantly ahead of Windsor in the team race and I was way further up than I could have imagined,” said Morgan.
He accredits his strong finish to not letting people ahead of him in the race get too far away.
“I decided I wasn't going to let anyone in the pack get away from me, and after somewhere between 3 and 4k it was just me and Taylor Reid left from our team,” said Morgan.
Reid finished right behind Morgan, not even a second off of his time, and finished in 7th place.
In 13th place was Connor Darlington, who raced while sick and still finished as an OUA All-Star, and right behind him was Lionel Sanders in 14th, who fell during the race and still finished strong.
Not too far behind Sanders was Taylor Forbes in 16th spot, and finishing up the scoring for the Marauders was Gabe Ghiglione in 36th place, and rookie Paul Rochus in 78th.
These notable finishes was encouraging for Coach Sneyd, as he found the team worked very well together to work their way up in the pack.
“What I liked the most was that the men got after it and worked really well with their teammates to maintain their positions.”
Coach Sneyd thinks canada viagra for sale that the team can carry their confidence from this second place OUA finish to the CIS Championships, and can prove that the top finish was no fluke.
“On the men’s side, I knew they could be second. I was just surprised that our men were a convincing second despite the fact that our potential 1-2 punch was our 3-4 guys in the race. This bodes well for doing even better in London. The guys are motivated to prove that the OUA race was no fluke and they want to be on that CIS podium”
The men will attempt to reach the OUA podium on Nov. 9, in London Ont. at Thames Valley Golf Course, while the women will attempt to prove themselves, and race to their potential, and finish within the top five in the country.