Now that we’ve seen some racing, maybe we can start making better educated guesses about who will finish where at the big show. Some teams came out blazing, and have fizzled, others started quietly and are now starting to look dangerous. Which would you rather be?
1. Guelph. The Gryphons have shown they have at least four guys who could be 1st team all-Canadians. That should be enough to win. Whoever their 5th man ends up being, all he’s got to do is keep it together.
2. Windsor. Ok, I had them ranked 7th last time, but I did say it was a 6-way tie for second place. Walters and Janikowski are leading a crew of guys who have been waiting for their time to shine. There’s some good coaching happening over there. Windsor’s guys always get better.
3. Victoria. There may be a bit of east-coast bias here, or maybe it is hard to tell how good a team is after just one race. Still, the Vikes looked good, and the mysterious Matt Hulse has not even raced yet.
4. Laval. They went head-to-head with Windsor at Western and got beat, but they were missing their number two, J-S Lapointe. He probably puts them over the top there. Another interesting point is that they moved up about 20 points in the second half of the race (thanks to Runners Feed for doing half-way mark scoring). That bodes well.
5. Queen’s. Finally this weekend, they put all their horses on the line. Oh wait, they didn’t, as Jeff Costen, 11th at Western, sat out. This team is dangerous. I’m not sure we won’t have another 6-way tie as there’s not much difference between all of these teams.
6. Regina. Weibe gets the win at CIS, no doubt. I’m not sure who else can take him, if he remains in his current shape. It’s still early, but the Cougars’, performance (Weibe aside) at The Griak drops them down the rankings. Sure, they have time to step it up, but as of now, put your money on the low stick and that’s all.
7. McMaster. Sanders, Darlington and Walsh make a solid top three. Mac’s depth will be what propels them either up or down the final scoreboard. They are relying on a young team, with only Walsh having more than one year of CIS racing under his belt.
8. Toronto. Their coach thought they could do better at Western. In Chicago, they did worse. This is an experienced team, however, and they should be able to pull it together for the big races in a month’s time.
9. St. FX. We will see what X is really made of in two weeks at the UNB Open, when their runners have to tangle with top ranked Laval. Until then, they get the benefit of the doubt based on Bernie’s coaching, and the fact that they are doing what they need to do, that is, dominate a weak conference.
10. Western. Only because we haven’t seen results from Calgary, and no one else really comes to mind. Even a sick and hurting Mustangs’ squad looks like it could take out Dalhousie. McGill had a taste early on, but getting beat by UQTR and UQAM does not help your chances, even if the team was at half-strength.
1. Guelph. Mea cupla. I prostrate myself before the DST. I bow my head, and avert my eyes. Somehow, despite not being able to win a meet, the lady Gryphons are ranked number one. And they should be. This group gets it. The only result that matters is CIS. They are getting their team ready for that. They’ve got depth (Frosts), speed (Lalonde), experience (Secaffien), youth (Yungblut). They even have a triathlete (Brown).
2. McMaster. Another team that is piecing itself together nicely. They are actually quite stacked: Carson, Coates, McDonald, Patterson, MacNeill and Wyman can all match up against the Gryphons top girls. This is closer than it looks.
3. Victoria. Not a particularly dominant performance at St. Martin’s, and then back in the hole for more training. We don’t know much about this team, but they have returned a good number of solid runners. They should be there.
4. McGill. The Martlets have shredded in-Conference competition to bits, and have acquitted themselves reasonably well against the OUA. On October 13th, they will line-up against Dalhousie and St. FX, two reasonably competitive teams out east. In a change from past seasons, the squad is being rested a bit from mid-season racing, which could result in a boosted performance come CIS.
5. Western. Ok, a drop from first, but that may have been a stretch. Still, if this squad can be patched back together somehow, they have the talent to mix it up.
6. Toronto. Not only do they have Jewitt’s low-stick, but the Hennessy sisters are rolling right now. They may jump over Western at the big CIS meet.
7. Queen’s. This team hasn’t shown much of its hand, but what we’ve seen has been reasonable. All of their ladies are in the mid-19 range, with rookie Staelhi leading the way at low-18. There’s still the question of transfer Sara Giovanetti. Will she race? If so, that could push the Gaels up the table.
8. St. FX. As with the men, the X-women haven’t had much competition. We will know more after the Interlock meet at UNB on October 13th.
9. Saskatchewan. Will the Edwards sisters make an impact? Gabrielle will be fresh back from the World Triathlon championships in New Zealand, so the timing is not great for her. She’s been known to complain a lot, but she’s a decent athlete, and her sister is, too. They’ll help the Huskies.
10. Windsor. This team was pretty close to Queens at Western, and they are a solid squad, with a good leader in Jen Corrick. Laval, Dalhousie, and Calgary (no results yet) all certainly aspire to this spot. But there is only room for 10 teams in the top 10.