C/O McMaster Marauders, Sherbrooke Athletics

Jessica Pearo-Rawlins is one of the newest inductees into the McMaster Sports Hall of Fame

Jessica Pearo-Rawlins is one of 2021’s four inductees into the McMaster Sports Hall of Fame. Immediately after the mandatory 10-year waiting period from which she graduated from McMaster, she was nominated and then selected by the Hall of Fame committee.

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Pearo-Rawlins is one of the most decorated athletes, not only in cross-country, but in all of Marauders’ history. Pearo-Rawlins spent four years at McMaster studying Kinesiology from 2007 to 2011, where she earned many well-deserved accolades for both athletics and academics. During her time at McMaster, Pearo-Rawlins was named an Academic All-Canadian for three consecutive years, was awarded the female student-athlete community service award in 2009 and maintained the Queen Elizabeth II Aiming for the Top Scholarship for all four years.  

Athletics-wise, Pearo-Rawlins was the first female Marauder to win an OUA gold medal in 2010. In addition, she became the first Marauder to win an individual gold medal at a CIS cross-country final in a five-kilometer run over hilly terrain. In addition, she is a two-time CIS first-team all-Canadian, three-time OUA first-team all-star and was named McMaster Female Athlete of the Year twice.  

Back in 2011 in an interview with Daily News McMaster, Pearo-Rawlins explained that she was applying to physiotherapy graduate school, with the goal being to earn a master of physiotherapy at the University of Toronto. In the interview, Pearo-Rawlins explained that she hoped to one day run her own clinic and help athletes such as herself. Now, around 10 years later, her goal has become a reality with the opening of Prospect Physiotherapy in 2021.  

“I worked at a great clinic called Lifespring to do therapy for about eight years and then transitioned into my own practice now, [for] which I've had a lot of help along the way. But that's sort of been my goal that I've been working towards so it's super exciting now that it's actually happened,” said Pearo-Rawlins.  

She and her two coworkers each have their niche of athletes that they work with and Pearo-Rawlins focuses on runners such as herself. Currently, she works with the Newmarket Huskies Track Club and other local distance runners.  

“They sort of sought me out just because of my background in the sport so just being able to treat patients that you are well acquainted with the type of injuries that they've had is very helpful for them just to be able to feel like I know what they're going through,” explained Pearo-Rawlins.  

"They sort of sought me out just because of my background in the sport so just being able to treat patients that you are well acquainted with the type of injuries that they've had is very helpful for them just to be able to feel like I know what they're going through,"

Jessica Pearo-Rawlins, 2021 McMaster Sports Hall of Fame Inductee

Something that has greatly helped Pearo-Rawlins during her time as a varsity athlete was the presence of supportive friends, family and coaches and this still carries forward today with the new challenges that come with opening her own practice.  

“I tended to be anxious until he'd arrive at the course. And honestly, he wouldn't say much; it would just be like a hug and then I just felt like I could calm down. And so honestly, even carrying through into today like opening a clinic and a business is a big thing and just having that family support from really everybody in my life: my husband, my father-in-law [and] my dad, again just being that ear. I feel like I'm somebody who needs to vent a lot and talk things out and just have those people in my life that are able to hear me and talk me down,” explained Pearo-Rawlins. 

While cross-country is a sport of individuals, it is the contributions of family members, fellow team members and coaches Rory Sneyd and Paula Schnurr that helped shape Pearo-Rawlins into the incredible athlete, businesswoman and physiotherapist she is today.  

Photos by Catherine Goce

This summer McMaster University’s cross-country team’s head coach Paula Schnurr finalized her recruiting class, bringing 11 new members on board. Seven of these members joined the women's program, making it the largest cross-country women’s recruiting class ever at McMaster.

After losing a significant number of runners at the end of last season, building up the program with strong female runners was a goal of Schnurr’s. Her recruiting efforts landed her Renelle Briggs of Whitby, Ont. who finished in sixth place in the 2000 m steeplechase at the 2018 Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations Track and Field Championships. Before that Briggs also earned a 27th-overall finish at the OFSAA Cross Country Championships in the fall of 2017.

It was on her first visit to McMaster last August that Briggs immediately fell in love with the school.

“I just really fell in love with the coach,” said Briggs. “I talked to other coaches as well but none gave me the same kind of vibe that Paula did. She was also the first one to send a letter so that speaks to me a lot as well.”

Schnurr’s vibe and the way she runs her team is often highly praised amongst her runners like first-year Oshawa, Ontario native Kendra Hawke.

“I think a big part of it had to do with Paula Schnurr,” said Hawke. “She came to visit our club and she’s just the cross-country mom as well as your mom away from home.”

For Hawke, it also helped that McMaster offered what she was looking for academically with its Engineering program.

Along with Briggs and Hawke, Caroline Forbes, Hope Harnack, Sarah Turner, Sarah Nolan and Shannon Porter will join the Marauders this season. For Briggs being able to be on a team with runners that she has been following over the last four years has been a full-circle moment.

“I knew the names but I didn’t actually know them, but when I got to meet them they were all so nice,” said Briggs. “They are all such great training partners and I'm really glad that we're all on the team together.”

Being able to have six others to relate to during this big transition has been a support system in itself for the women. As it is for all students the adjustment from high school to university is not an easy one, but to be a varsity athlete on top of that can often be extremely overwhelming. Having teammates you can form that tight bond with provides that reassurance.

“High school was nice and yeah you have a little family but I feel like McMaster, especially the cross-country team, they're literally welcoming you with open arms into the team,” said Hawkes. “You are not just a rookie coming on to the team, you're part of the team as soon as you're there.”

Starting their training with the team a week before the beginning of school, both Briggs and Hawkes got their first taste of university-level racing. They started off with some easier workouts and now are transitioning into building up more with their base workouts before racing starts and they cannot work out as much.

With their first tournament at the University of Buffalo Stampede Invitational, the ladies showed their hard work beforehand paid off. Rookie Forbes led the charge in the women’s 6K coming in 32nd followed by Briggs at 46th, Nolan at 57th, Porter at 66th and Harnack at 75th.

With this being just the beginning of the season, both Hawkes and Briggs have their minds set on ways to keep improving.

“For this year I'd like to see an improvement in my running not just physically but mentally because I've had a few rough cross-country seasons,” said Hawkes. “But I would definitely like to get faster, just see myself improve mentally and physically as a runner.”

For Briggs her eye is set on the prize with aspirations of winning big.

“I really want to make the top seven on the team for U Sports,” said Briggs. “I also would love to make Team Canada at club nationals. Not sure if it’s going to happen but it’s been a goal I’ve had for the last couple years.”

Though nothing is promised, this for sure is guaranteed: their first season at McMaster will be one like no other.

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The U Sports Cross-Country Championships, held this year in Victoria, British Columbia, marks the end of the outdoor track season for the McMaster cross-country team.

The University of Guelph’s men’s cross-country team reclaimed their title after being beaten by Université Laval the year before. The Guelph women were not as successful, falling for the first time in 13 years to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. The women’s race was also the first time the championship has been run as an 8km event, as it was traditionally 6km.

Although McMaster’s men’s team was hoping to medal, they finished just three points behind third-place Laval with an overall score of 90 points. The women’s team came in seventh place, improving from their 2016 eighth-place finish.

“I thought the teams raced really well,” said head coach Paula Schnurr. “This years men’s team is the best cross-country team that McMaster has ever had.”

While only two of the competing women had never been to the U Sports championships, five out of the seven members of the men’s team who attended had never competed at the Canadian university championships, including the 2017 Ontario University Athletics rookie of the year Max Turek and newly named U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian Sergio Raez Villanueva.

“We knew we had a young team at the start so as a coach you’re expecting long term development,” said Schnurr. “But we started to see that this team was better than we anticipated and that really showed at the OUAs.”

With the men consistently ranked between fourth and fifth by U Sports throughout the season, finishing second in the OUA, it started to look like the Marauders had a chance at finishing within the top three. Unfortunately they were ultimately unable to pull through.

“They were disappointed but they all ran as hard as they could,” said Schnurr. “They gave every ounce they had and they delivered as a team. As a coach that’s all I ever ask of them.”

Noting that year-to-year consistency is emblematic of Mac’s program, the women continuing to improve even after losing key runners is something that Schnurr is more than proud of.

Although the team will be losing Jeffery Tweedle, who over the last five years has had a major impact on the McMaster cross-country program, right behind him there are a number of athletes who are ready to fill his running shoes. Raez Villanueva and Turek are just two of the talented athletes the men’s team has to offer.

“We have so much depth on our men’s team and they are constantly improving,” said Schnurr. “That is very exciting for our men’s team’s future.”

For the women's team, Schnurr hopes to create that same level of depth that they have on the men’s side. With a few recruits looking to join Mac’s program, they hope to continue to get stronger and do better over the next few years.

As for the offseason, there essentially is none. Now that the outdoor season is over, the indoor track season begins. With their first race in December, the indoor season spans across January and February. After that, many of the athletes will train with Schnurr in the summer and compete in the six meets Mac plans to host in aims to continually progress and be more successful in the years to come.

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If you have gone through elementary school or high school, chances are you have run cross-country in some way, shape or form, but that does not mean you have the capability to compete at the university level.

That is what Jeff Tweedle, fifth-year civil engineering student and cross-country star, used to think before he took a try at running. Growing up, Tweedle played volleyball throughout high school and loved it, but he also knew that his chances to play at the next level were slim.

It was not until the end of grade 11 that the Cardinal Newman Secondary School student was introduced to local track coach Patti Moore of the Hamilton Olympic Club. He started training with the club more seriously shortly after, and did so throughout the twelfth grade.

“I didn’t have that much of an intention of running when I came to Mac,” said Tweedle. “My track times were okay, but compared to the guys they recruit now I was really slow.”

In his first year, Tweedle struggled with adjusting and balancing to life as a student-athlete and had the worst year of his career. Over the summer after his first year, he had the opportunity to train with head coach Paula Schnurr and from there has seen nothing but constant improvement.

Tweedle believes that they took a chance on him, and that chance has been paying off ever since. The fifth-year runner is the McMaster record holder in the 1,000 metre (2:22:58), 1,500 metre (3:45:80) and mile (4:02.05) distances.

“It was just something that neither of us expected to happen and it was just such a big breakthrough for me,” said Tweedle on his 1,000 metre McMaster record he made two years ago at the Boston University Valentine Invitational.

At the time, Tweedle was suffering from Achilles issues and was not where he wanted to be going into Boston. So winning his heat, finishing third overall and breaking both Mac’s record and his personal best came as a huge surprise.

“I was just in shock,” said Tweedle. “I stepped off the track and looked for my coach Paula and we just hugged it out.”

Over the years, Tweedle has had many good surprises on the track, but he’s had bad ones too — as any athlete does. After having a solid start to the 2017 season, Tweedle was in contention to win at the Ontario University Athletics Cross-Country Championships on Oct. 28. Unfortunately, he ended up falling at the five kilometre mark, which set him back from the lead group.

“I had to do a lot more work to close that gap and collect myself after falling,” said Tweedle. “It hurt me a bit physically, but it was more just the mental shock of hitting the ground, rolling around and trying to pop back up to finish the race.”

Tweedle ended up coming in fifth with a time of 30:46.4, helping the Marauders men’s team place second overall. Sergio Raez Villanueva, Marauder newcomer and sophomore, placed second overall with 30:37.3. First-year Max Turek took home the individual bronze and OUA rookie of the year honours with a time of 30:39.5.

“When I was coming in with 100 metres left and I could see Sergio and Max crossing the line I was just so happy for them,” said Tweedle. “It’s crazy to see these guys early on in their Mac careers doing so well. I may be heading out and it may be the end for me, but to see what these guys are accomplishing is insane.”

The McMaster women’s team also came in at a solid fourth place thanks to Melissa Caruso, who individually placed at 11th with a time of 28:40.7 and Emily Nowak who came in 14th place with 28:57.1.

Both women were named OUA second-team all-stars, while Tweedle, Turek and Raez Villanueva were named OUA first-team all-stars.

As his university career comes to a close at the end of the fall semester, Tweedle hopes that it is not the end of his running career.

“I’m not too sure what I want to do after I graduate,” said Tweedle. “I’m leaving it pretty open so over the next year I can take a crack at running and see how far I can take it.”

Working out a deal with bigger track clubs or a running shoe and apparel sponsor would be the next step for Tweedle to become a professional runner. Although once he hangs up his cleats, Tweedle hopes to work in municipal engineering.

But for now, he still has one more race to try to win as a Marauder. His sights are set on the U Sports championships, where both the men’s and women’s teams will be competing.

“[The OUA Championships] wasn’t quite what I hoped for as I was hoping to get a medal and it didn’t quite go that way,” Tweedle said. “But it’s nice to have the U Sports in two weeks. We were ready for the OUA’s, but we’re gonna be even better in two weeks.”

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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.

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By: Eamon Hillis

As Conor Darlington toed the Plains of Abraham on Nov. 12 in what would be his last cross-country race as a Marauder, few could have predicted the events that were to transpire.

Darlington entered the University Sports Cross Country Championships in Quebec City as an outside contender. However, he rose to the occasion to conquer a challenging course and win bronze. It was a historic accomplishment, and one that places Darlington in elite company.  He is now one of only three McMaster men to have won a Canadian Interuniversity Sports/U Sports championship medal, and the first since 1978.

“I was going into the race aiming high, looking for a medal,” Darlington said. “I don’t think a lot of people expected the results, but deep down that was my goal.”

This confident attitude was on full display in a spirited and tactical performance that took advantage of the difficult terrain. Darlington chose to stay conservative through the first half of the 10 kilometre race, expending the necessary energy to keep pace. Then, in the last two kilometres, as other runners began to fade, he made a strong move to separate him from the pack and swipe bronze.

Darlington lead the Marauder men to a commendable fourth place finish, with athletes Jeff Tweedle, Gabriel Ghiglione, Luke Charbonneau, Nick Kondrat, Christian MacGillivray and Paul Rochus performing well. Darlington was pleased, but expressed some understandable disappointment, for this marks the fourth consecutive year that the Mac men have missed the podium by only one spot.

“It seems bittersweet missing the podium as we have four years in a row, but I think we are all happy with how we ran regardless. We were up against some very good opposition, and I think we performed well.”

Darlington has now completed all five years of his cross-country eligibility, and will be completing his undergraduate program in Environmental Studies this spring. When asked to reflect upon his time at McMaster he expressed nothing but gratitude. As a high school senior, Darlington found himself heavily recruited by top NCAA programs, but instead chose McMaster as his post-secondary destination. Darlington attributes this decision to the meaningful connection he felt to the coaching staff, especially head coach Paula Schnurr.

“I chose Mac because of its great balance in athletics and academics. I got along well with the coaches and I knew that Paula understood my goals, and that she was interested in working with me on an individual level. I am very happy with my decision and I stand by it.”

Darlington was quick to acknowledge the role that Schnurr and the rest of the coaching staff has played in his success. He was also keen to mention the invaluable support from family and friends throughout the years.

Darlington is now shifting his focus from cross-country to the upcoming indoor track and field season where he hopes to carry his momentum. He will be looking to specialize in the 1500m; an event where he believes his best chances at success lay.

“I am going to focus on the 1500m this indoor season. I’ll be looking ahead to outdoor competitions where I’ll be running the 1500m, so I think it is helpful to specialize early.”

Darlington is currently unsure as to what the next academic year will hold for him, but has shown an interest in returning for further study at McMaster.

“I want to try and do a Master’s degree here at Mac,” Darlington says. “I have used up my eligibility, of course, but hopefully I’d be here training with Paula. I am still undecided, but that is one tentative plan.”

Wherever the smooth-striding Marauder ends up next year – wherever his running career takes him – he will look back on his time at Mac with appreciation, and continue on as a great ambassador for McMaster athletics.

 

 

The Canadian Interuniversity Sport top ten cross country rankings were released, with both Mac’s men’s and women’s team sitting safely within the top ten after finishing second and fourth at the Western Invitational.

On the men’s side, McMaster is currently ranked sixth in the country, led by team veteran Connor Darlington. The fifth-year runner posted the fastest time for Mac at Western, running 25.01.7 and finishing fifth. Despite landing just off the podium, Darlington ran the seventh fastest time in the history of the invitational, a testament to the pace set early by this year’s field.

Jeff Tweedle finished one spot behind Darlington, crossing the line sixth, while Nick Kondrat finished 13th to round out a tight top three for the Marauders. An ill Gabe Ghiglione and second-year standout Christian MacGillivray also delivered strong performances to secure the silver medal for the men’s team.

Host team Western were the eventual winners, but Mac still finished ahead of powerhouses Guelph and Windsor, who currently outrank the Marauders on the CIS top ten.

The women’s team sits eighth on the list, with long-standing heavyweight Guelph atop the rankings with 95 points. The Mac women also face some established programs from the likes of Western and the University of Toronto, but are determined to stay competitive.

“The [Guelph] women’s team has won the last 10 years,” said fourth-year Emily Nowak. “Toronto is really good, they have a lot of strong middle distance runners, [and] you can add schools like Queen’s and Laval in there too.”

“What I’m hoping to see from our team is that our spread from 1-7 gets closer and we run as more of a pack as the season goes... with that hopefully come OUA time we can try and compete for a medal again.”

At Western, Nowak posted Mac’s lowest time, coming in at a solid 18.07.1, followed by Maddie Benjamin three spots back at 18.14.6. Newcomer Rachel Faulds, second-year Kristen Kuhn, and fifth-year Sarah Haliburton rounded out Mac’s scoring runners in a dense woman’s field.

For Faulds, Western was her first taste of an OUA meet after transferring from West Virginia to compete this year. Thus far she has proven a great addition to the team, placing herself in Mac’s top three scorers in both competitions.

“She has fit in extremely well,” said coach Paula Schnurr. “She is a very low-maintenance athlete, and she is very talented. We are a team that has a lot of experience, and Rachel is another piece that can add to that experience factor.”

Both teams will be back in action on Oct. 15 at the Canisius Alumni Classic in Buffalo. It is the Marauders’ last meet before championship season, as they try to fine tune their performances leading up to the Ontario University Athletics championship on Oct. 30.

“Last year, both teams medaled and were third at the OUAs,” said Schnurr. “That was the first time both teams medaled at the same OUA championships and that was a big deal. I would say that’s the goal for both teams to medal again... I am pretty optimistic we will be able to match what we did or improve at the CIS level.”

Laura Sinclair

Senior Sports Editor

The McMaster cross country team took to the trails at the Vic Matthews Open in Guelph this weekend to compete at the largest university cross country meet in Canada.

The men’s team was able to pull off outstanding performances in the 10 kilometer race, while in the absence of three of their best four runners in and still managed to place an impressive third amongst CIS teams.

Lionel Sanders made a statement in his first race of the season, finishing sixth out of a field of 135, with a time of 31:44.

Teammate Taylor Forbes finished in 17th place in his season debut, with a time of 32:22, which marks an outstanding improvement and a great first race of the season for the veteran triathlete

“This year I am approaching my races differently by not allowing myself much rest before I hit the line” said the multi-sport athlete.

Forbes made sure that he ran a tactical race, preserving energy in the first five km, and going hard in the last stretch of the long and tiring race

“I did what I set out to do ... I went out conservative and started out well back in the mix. Then [I was] able to make my way up to 17th position by the end,” said Forbes.

For his first race of the season, Forbes was proud to have finished within the top 20, against a very competitive field, and working through the pain to have a strong performance overall.

“I think the race went as well as it could have considering it being my debut race. It hurt like hell that last mile but that is what I expected in a 10k” added Forbes.

Not too far behind Forbes was men’s cross country captain Blair Morgan, who finished in 22nd place with a time of 32:49.

Rookie Paul Rochus ran to a time of 33:04 and finished in 32nd place overall, and finishing close behind him was veteran Gabe Ghiglione, who finished in 36th place with a time of 33:19.

Rounding out the score for the Marauders was Eric Barry in 45th place and rookie Ivan Meizinger in 54th.

When asked about the potential for a CIS medal, Forbes states he does not want to underestimate the power of the other teams.

“We try to tread lightly when it comes to thinking about a CIS medal. The way my teammates and I look at it is that we will never know for certain the potential our team has until Nov. 9, at the Thames Valley Golf Course, and not until then will we make any hard claims” said Forbes.

On the women’s side, the Marauders finished sixth, without two notable big scorers- Courtney Patterson and women’s cross country captain Chelsea Mackinnon.

This year, the course was modified for the first time ever to accommodate the new CIS 6-km distance, a step up from the 5-km distance in previous years.

Maddy McDonald led the charge up front for the Marauders, finishing in tenth place out of 153 runners, with a time of 20:53.

Crossing the line second for the maroon and grey was grad student Kierstin Myers, who finished in 36th place with a time of 22:34.

Not too far behind Myers was rookie Emily Nowak, who finished the course with a time of 22:38.

Raquel Burgess completed the 6-km in a time of 23:02, which was good enough for 53rd place overall, and exchange student Charlotte Ward finished with a time of 23:10, which brought her to 58th place.

Rounding out the top seven runners on the team was Maddie Benjamin, who placed 61st overall, and rookie Adrienne Morgan, who placed 70th.

The Marauders cross country team will look to keep up the momentum for their next race this weekend which will be a split race in Waterloo and at the Mustang Open in London.

By Laura Sinclair

The McMaster Marauder’s cross country team has proven to be unstoppable with strong performances across the board from Chicago, Illinois, to Princeton, New Jersey, to Guelph, Ontario.
The women’s team won the Sean Earle Lakefront Invitational in Chicago on September 29th, comfortably with 105 points, while the men’s team finished 6th  out of 47 teams. This past Saturday, the men’s team and half of the women’s team went to the Vic Matthews Open in Guelph, while the other half of the women’s roster raced at the Princeton Invitational in New Jersey.
Despite missing the CIS 3000m champion Lindsay Carson at both the Loyola Lakefront Invitational and the Princeton Invitational, the women’s team still managed to pull off a win and a second place finish overall.
“We’re happy with our 2nd place finish at Princeton, but it was definitely a great feeling to bring home the win at Chicago,” said Victoria Coates, the individual second place finisher for both meets who had to adapt quickly to the Princeton course which required another kilometre of running accompanied with increased physical and mental strain.
Coates had a unique perspective on the new challenge: “The Princeton Invitational was a different experience for us since it was a 6 km race instead of 5 km. Personally, I like the Chicago course better because it has a big hill in the middle. The Princeton course was pretty flat and
I tend to do better on hills."
For Coates, it was all about the experience, and competing against some of the most prestigious schools in North America: “It was exciting to race big name schools like Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia, and we’re pretty happy that we were able to place second amongst them.”
Helping Coates to pave the way for the Marauders included stand-out rookie Madeleine McDonald, who beat out hundreds of seniors, finishing 7th overall at the Loyola Invitational and 3rd overall at Princeton.

Rounding out the score at the Loyola Invitational included Jill Wyman in 15th, Steph MacNeill in 37th, Chelsea Mackinnon in 44th, Pauline Skowron in 88th and Claire Stewart in 96th. At the Princeton Invitational, Victoria Coates was 2nd, Madeleine McDonald was 3rd, Jill Wyman was 16th, Steph Macneill was 18th and Chelsea Mackinnon was 78th.
On the men’s side, Lionel Sanders finished 10th overall at Loyola followed by top recruit Connor Darlington in 13th, Taylor Forbes in 38th, Blair Morgan in 47th, Ryan Tice in 75th, Austen Forbes in 82nd and Keenan Viney in 83rd. The sixth place finish was an impressive feat, but for Captain Jeremy Walsh, the Vic Matthews Open in Guelph is an important meet to size up the competition.
“Racing the familiar faces prior to championship season gives us a good idea where we sit in the standings and who to key off in the more important races,” he said.
The familiar faces gave the men an extra push at the Vic Matthews Open, where they finished fifth overall in a pack run, with Connor Darlington in 22nd, Taylor Forbes in 25th, Taylor Reid in 26th, Jordan Bierema in 31st, Lionel Sanders in 33rd, Blair Morgan in 39th and Austen Forbes in 40th.
The other half of the girls team at the Vic Matthews Open finished fourth overall, with veteran Lindsay Carson winning the race, followed by Courtney Patterson in 9th, Pauline Skowron in 26th, Laura Morrison in 34th, Raquel Burgess in 44th, and Claire Stewart in 48th.
The next meet on the Marauder’s horizon is the OUA Championships in King City, where both teams hope to perform at their best with the top seven runners on the line from the men and women’s team.
This meet will be a preview for the CIS Championships on November 10th in London, Ont. where the men’s team will strive for a top five finish overall, and the women’s team will strive to overtake last year’s CIS Champions, the Guelph Gryphons.

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