C/O Steve Moran
Excellent performances by the Marauders lead to podium finishes at the Western Invitational
McMaster’s cross country teams kicked off their season with a dominant outing at the Vigars & Salter Western Invitational. At their first race of the year, the men and women’s teams showed out, finishing first and third respectively at their eight kilometre run events.
Similar to golf, the team with the lowest score in a cross country meet wins. Teams require a minimum of at least five runners in order to be officially scored and corresponding point values are assigned based on their standings. The top seven runners on a team are able to affect a team’s results, with the first five contributing to the total score and the latter two acting as displacers to push back opposing runners’ ranks.
After coming in third at the event in 2021, the men’s team battled their way to claim the top spot in this year’s London showdown.
Max Turek — winner of the OUA bronze medal at last year’s championship eight kilometre race — finished third overall with a time of 24:34. Ending 18 seconds after Turek, Alex Drover placed fifth for the team, allowing both individuals to claim the leading two scores among qualified varsity runners.
The men’s team completed the meet with a score of 47, beating out the Western Mustangs who managed a total of 69 on their home grounds. Praising their overall performance, Drover viewed the event as a good indication of what the team has in-store for the rest of the season.
“I think we showed that we have a strong, deep team. We had a lot of runners out and everyone was performing well. It is early in the season but I think it was a race that set a good foundation for us to move forward from,” said Drover.
As for the women’s team, they placed third in their run, collecting 69 points at the competition. Leading McMaster with her time of 30:03, Hannah Goodjohn came third among university runners and seventh in the race overall. Sliding into sixth for the varsity group, Rosalyn Barrett completed the race in 30:20 to give the team two top-ten finishers altogether.
“I think going into it we had some really big competition, just some strong teams there. Guelph is a very, very strong team, same with Laval. . . it was a really exciting race,” said Barrett.
True to her word, both schools took commanding presences on the leaderboard. Aided by gold and silver finishes from athletes Jade Bérubé and Florence Caron, Laval’s Rouge et Or ended the meet in second with 54 points. Despite their efforts, the Guelph Gryphons managed to pull ahead of the pack, backed by five, top-12 placing runners and a leading score of 44.
The Marauders took on their second meet of the year on Oct. 1 at the Don Mills Open in Waterloo. Primarily featuring runners who have yet to compete this year, both the men and women’s teams rested the majority of athletes who participated at the Western Invitational.
Approximately two weeks later the team will make their Hamilton homecoming on Oct. 14 for the Marauder Bayfront Open, in preparation for the OUA and U Sports championships. Given their success early in the season, they look to be tough competitors up until the season’s end.
C/O The Silhouette Archives
This is the year to tune into the variety of varsity sports McMaster offers
The 2020-2021 school year was a frustrating year, with no varsity or intramural sports happening on campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the 2021-2022 season offered a full variety of sports opportunities and activities students could get involved in, there were still a handful of disruptions, including the January lockdown that prohibited OUA competitions from continuing as planned.
This upcoming season provides a sense of hope and continuity for sports enthusiasts and novices alike. There are many reasons to watch the sports the university has to offer and below are our top five reasons for why you should get involved this upcoming school year.
1. Everything is open!
As it stands in July 2022, all the facilities on campus will be open to pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, students will not be required to sign up to access any on-campus facilities. Finally, the COVID-19 screening tool used in the 2021-2022 season, MacCheck, will no longer be required for students or student athletes wishing to get involved in any sports activities on campus.
2. More athletes involved in national teams
As the new season approaches, there are more opportunities for student athletes to be involved with junior and senior national team call ups. Although last season had its fair share of athletes being called up to the national teams, this season is promising comparable results.
Although we are still two months away from commencement, Canadian U-21 women’s volleyball team included Marauder Sullie Sundara for the team at the upcoming U21 Pan American Cup in Mexico. Meanwhile from the men’s team, Sam Cooper was named to the Canadian senior national team. Finally, from the wrestling team, Serena Di Bennedetto qualified for the Canadian junior national team.
3. More fixtures added to the teams’ schedule
While the teams were allowed to play last season due to the timing of the pandemic waves their fixtures were somewhat limited. For example, if a team typically had 15 fixtures in the regular season, they were cut down to 10.
From the schedules released thus far, there have been more matches added to the upcoming OUA season. For example, both the men’s’ and women’s’ soccer teams have seen an increase in their schedule from 10 games last season to 12 for this year's regular season.
4. Greater focus on 2SLGBTQIA+ in sports
Over the past season, the Athletics and Recreation Department at McMaster University has organized numerous events students and athletes alike could get involved in. Events like this are key for connecting with the wider McMaster community. Many events have been tailored towards supporting and recognizing particularly communities, including the 2SLGBTQIA+ community on campus.
An event that shed light on this community last season was the Pride Game taking place at McMaster men's and women’s basketball game against the Waterloo Warriors. The goal of the game was to highlight and increase the visibility of 2SLGBTQIA+ student-athletes. Although not confirmed as of July 2022, the event among others to shed light on the 2SLGBTQIA+ community are likely to held again.
5. More racial equality implementation
Over the past couple of years, McMaster has been grilled for consistently letting down their athletes. There were numerous allegations regarding the mistreatment of the athletes representing the school, including the prioritization of white athletes while not responding to Black students for varsity meetings.
This year McMaster put effort into combatting these allegations and has taken action. In late June 2022, the Athletics and Recreation Department hosted multiple peers at their inaugural anti-racism symposium. The goal of this event was to further the conversation within the OUA and OCAA about creating actual changes in athletics and recreation departments at the post-secondary level. Although this one event doesn't signify a complete change in the community’s stance towards racism, it certainly is a step in the right direction and shows a glimpse of hope for the future of McMaster athletes.
McMaster sports are back, but does the student body care?
Varsity sports have been around for a long time. At McMaster University, sports have been around since 1889, when the university used to be located in Toronto. Mac’s first varsity game was played between a group of alumni from the Toronto Baptist College and Woodstock college, competing in a match of soccer. Over time, the university developed its variety of sports offered and by 1897, McMaster made all athletics and other sport related activities a duty of the central executive committee.
McMaster University athletes’ names — Marauders — came from a former student, Bill Cline, who suggested the nickname for the men's basketball team and had his suggestion published by the Silhouette afterward.
Where do the Marauders stand now, after a whole year of inactivity? How popular are they with the general student population within McMaster? This is a question that can be posed as the new season slowly starts and fans return to the stands. Already, the tickets for the homecoming weekend football game against the Waterloo Warriors are sold out, but this does not necessarily represent the attitudes towards the Marauders and all sports teams of the student body.
In the days leading up to this publication, a survey was taken around campus and on Reddit to determine what the general student population think of the Marauders and whether they keep up with the games in general.
The following results were collected on campus, based on 50 answers from students selected at random.
Do you keep up with any varsity sports?
When asked about this question, it was evident that most of the students seemed uninterested. After 50 people were interviewed regarding this matter, 84% expressed their disinterest, while 16% mentioned that they do occasionally or commonly keep up with the varsity teams at McMaster.
Evidently, the popularity of varsity sports within the student population is not of great magnitude and the campus poll was not the only one to prove this consensus.
McMaster Reddit Poll
Although Reddit does not represent the student population as a whole, the McMaster Sub-Reddit is an internet page that has over 25,000 students, alumni and professors. Recently, a poll was conducted to get an even clearer picture of how popular McMaster varsity sports are among the students.
An identical question was posed to the Sub-Reddit: Do you keep up with McMaster varsity sports?
Although the campus poll did not show a significant popularity in terms of varsity sports, the Reddit poll showed a greater level of disinterest in varsity sports than the previous poll. Out of 277 votes recorded, only five stated that they follow the competitive leagues while a whopping 245 said no.
These polls clearly show that there is not a large interest in varsity sports among Mac students. After a long break without any university sports, it may have been expected. However, these are also a prompt for change. They signify a lack of students' knowledge about the sporting events going on around them and it would be beneficial for the Marauders to instead believe that Mac students are interested in varsity games and cheering them on.
When speaking to Catherine Zheng, a second-year computer engineering student regarding sports, she mentioned that her love for sports and willingness to follow the varsity scene is largely affected by her school workload and sometimes lack of information.
“I feel like there are many people out there that would really like to keep up or even spectate varsity sports, but the amount of university workload generally prevents people like me from having the time to do so,” said Zheng.
When asked about the effect COVID-19 had on her interest in varsity sports, Zheng mentioned that it didn't particularly diminish its appeal to her, but felt like many of her friends completely forgot about the sporting events associated at McMaster.
“I think that COVID-19 didn't really have an effect on my interest in varsity sports. I have always been a fan of school teams, especially football. Obviously, last year there were no activities to follow but even now I feel like a year of inactivity made many people forget that such things are back to normal now,” explained Zheng.
She also described how there is sometimes a lack of information about McMaster sports.
“I do feel like that at times there is not much to know about varsity sports. For example, the McMaster Instagram page barely posts anything regarding these activities, which I think doesn't inform students enough,” said Zheng.
It is evident that the Marauders are not of major interest among the student population. Although information about varsity games may not be readily available on social media, students have the opportunity to keep up with all the varsity sports through the Marauders website.