Putting their best foot forward
On Oct. 13, the McMaster University Cross Country team hosted their first annual Marauder Bayfront Open. The 7 km invitational was an overall team success, as the men's team came in first overall with a score of 24 points, and the women's team came in third overall with a total of 60 points.
Going into the meet, both the men's and the women's team were ranked within the U Sports Top 10. The men's team ranking fourth in the nation while the women's team sat in tenth.
The Bayfront Open was the first time the Marauders had the opportunity to race on their own stomping grounds. Supported by family, friends and the Hamilton cross country community, the team was more than pleased with the way the event turned out.
"It's always nice to be able to host, especially because the athletes can run in front of their family and friends," said head coach Paula Schnurr. "They raced on a course that we've been able to train on, so the end result was very successful and I think all of that plays a big part in their individual success and their success as a team".
One of the Marauders who really took the opportunity to succeed was fifth-year veteran Jeff Tweedle who placed first in the men's title with a time of 20 minutes and 45 seconds.
"I feel really happy with my performance, it was basically perfectly executed to what I wanted today," said Tweedle. "Overall, our team ran really well too and we saw some great performance today. I am really excited for our team moving forward into the Ontario University Athletics championships".
The men's team’s top five all placed within the first 10 runners. Among the five was newcomer Max Turek, who placed fifth overall and was the third Marauder to cross the finish line for his team.
Although he is a lot younger than most of the top male athletes, the first-year engineering student has been adjusting to cross country at the university level just fine.
"It's a lot harder and a lot faster but I really enjoy the competition," said Turek. "I like to push myself especially with the older guys and run up with them, and so far I've been able to keep up and race really well."
Leading the Marauders’ women's team was Melissa Caruso, a former member of the University of Western Ontario's cross country team, who came in fifth with a time of 24:48. The OUA championship is up next for the Marauders and the former Mustang is confident in the ability of her new teammates.
"I think that a lot of our girls will run well over the long distance and I'm excited to see what we do," said Caruso.
"I think at the OUA championships, the extra kilometre will do our girls well because we are more on the distance side," added veteran Emily Nowak, who placed eighth overall with a time of 25:03. "I think that we can potentially place third, so we'll be trying our best to medal"
Though several Marauders ran extremely well, the tough task of choosing which seven of both men and women will represent Mac at the championships is left in the hands of the coaches. Thankfully, based off the good season so far and the results from the Bayfront Open, they know that whoever they will pick will be putting their best foot forward.