Here’s the deal. We got previews from some coaches. From other coaches, we got nothing. Some teams have been talked about to death. Others might get a kick out of seeing their names in lights. So before the season starts, here’s our best guess at how 2012 CIS Cross Country is going to play out. All rankings subject to change when actual performances start to come in. First meet was last weekend in Sudbury, OUA, RESQ and AUS get rolling Saturday with meets in Kingston, Montreal and Moncton. Cougar Trot on the 22nd is the opener out west.
1. Guelph. Apparently they have a Scottish steeplechaser now. As if Rob Jackson’s street cred wasn’t hip enough already. Seriously, the team is stacked. Again. Yves Sikubwabo (OFSAA champ) and Christian Gravel (BC champ) step in for Genest and Brett.
2. Laval. The nicest bunch of dirty hipsters you’ve ever met. And fast, too. Last year, they had the fitness, but not the experience. Now they have the experience. Will they have the health? (actual stats, 3 guys with track 10000m times in the 31s, a 3:41 1500 guy, and last year’s conference champ returning.)
3. McMaster. They’ve got a good recruiting class, but will the rookies perform from day 1? How long will it take them to get into big boy shape? Jeremy Walsh is back from work term and has a 3:50 1500 under his belt.
4. Victoria. Returning 6 of 7, and swapping Childs for Hulse. No mention of Olivier Collin in their preview, but his giant balls would be a plus for any team.
5. Regina. Again, Regina has a big four (Weibe, Bayton, Fyfe, Johnston) but seem to be missing a 5th. They’ve established themselves as a perennial contender with this crew, but where is the back-up?
6. Queens. Coach Boyd is dealing with some turnover, but he fashioned a solid squad last year doing things his way. His rookies ran like vets, and now they have more experience. But man it is crowded in these rankings.
7. Windsor. The Lancers suffered serious losses, but this team always seems to find a way to the podium. Consider rankings 2-7 a 6-way tie for second place.
8. St. FX. Or a 7-way tie? How will Ontario recruit Scott Donald fare down on Bernie’s farm? Is AUS Conor McGuire ready for the big time?
9. Toronto. Everyone from Ontario ranked them in the top 10 so I figured they must have a decent team, even if Didier Morelli is out west making art on Commercial Drive, and won’t be around to cheer them on.
10. Manitoba. Alistair Brown is in Medical School at Manitoba, so he should get a shout out. There really is not enough information to make accurate predictions yet.
1. Western. This team is sassy. They may just sass the title away. A large number of women with sub or near 18min 5k chops. Amanda Truelove is their star recruit, as Vigars and co. have brought her back from the evil NCAA. She’s run 16:43 on the track at Duke. Imagine what she can do now that she’s free!
2. Guelph. Coach DST says they are stronger than last year. They’ve added a couple promising rookies, but the depth on this team is such that they may not see the light of day for a year or two. Always moving forward, the only reason they are not ranked first is for variety’s sake. A toss-up until we see some racing.
3. Victoria. A strong team gains a couple more, as Maddy MacDonald transfers over from Calgary, and Riley McQueen returns to the fold.
4. McGill. Adding Caroline Pfister just adds to a tight Martlet group up front. Swap her for Drouin-Audet, and give the rest of the team another year of experience, and McGill is knocking on the podium door.
5. St. FX. I don’t know the names of too many of the girls on this team, but Bernie Chisholm does work with his teams. All-Canadian Natalie Kannenberg should lead the way.
6. McMaster. Mac loses a whole wack of girls to graduation and transfer. Andereson, Haliburton, Giovannetti, Lamb and Wilson are out, but Canadian national Jr 3000m champ Madeline McDonald is in, and so is 8th at OFSAA 3000m Tiffany Cheung.
7. Toronto. Jewett is still around, I assume. That lowers the ol’ team score.
8. Saskatchewan. Might as well start ranking them now, they will be here at the end.
9. Queens. Does Boyd’s magic work as well for the ladies as it does for the guys?
10. Alberta. I had Laval in this spot, but found out that Joanie Roy would not be running, so seems like Alberta or Calgary are a good bet.
Looking forward to getting the season going.