Classic Kitely-McInnes CIS XC poll #2 at Montreal Endurance brought to you by New Balance 2014

These early season races mean about as much as the NHL pre-season does. The only issue is that you can risk getting hurt, and for what? A fancy purple medal? A t-shirt? Or if hockey is not your thing, it’s like that old baseball saying: “I had a no-hitter until the big kids got out of school.” The big kids don’t get out of school until the end of October. Here’s what the playground looks like for now.

Small note: I am not sure how to take the completely skewed votes of our only BC panelist. He used unlikely teams to push the other top squads down his list, while keeping Victoria up at number two. Is this a realistic counter-balance to east-coast bias? Or an attempt at false hope for a die-hard Vikes fan?

Guelph 100
Technically a perfect score at the Vic Matthews, but there were some club runners up there to break up the dominance. Woodfine, Skiubwabo and Proudfoot seem to have picked up where they left off last year. No Hendrixk yet. Dulhanty, who would be the 5th, was 9sec up on Laval’s first, Raymond. Let that sink in.

McMaster 80
Mac won the Western meet, then also won the Windsor meet with only half their squad. Even with Windsor supposedly “tempoing” their home course, those are two solid wins over perennial CIS medalists.

Laval 79
Assuming that CPT is recovered from his extended track season, Laval has a top end that only Guelph can rival. But he’s only one guy. This year is the test year for the Rouge et Or. Did they win medals because of a couple good guys, or because of a good program? Their top 5 seem to be Chuck, Raymond, Legault, Labranche, and Morin. There is certainly solid depth there, and former Gryphon Tommy Lecours is lurking, waiting for a chance to shine.

Victoria 56
Bocksnick and Peterson were sub 5min/miles at Standford, with Therrien at 5:03, Weir at 5:06 and Schiavone a long way down at 5:18. The paces don’t tell us much, but the spread does. If there aren’t more Vikes, they won’t contend. But if they fill those gaps, those are some decent horses.

Windsor 55
As discussed, they may have tempoed their home meet. They were second at Western. Falk has run twice unattached and Kegel is red shirting down in the Hammer. This is where you count Windsor out. And this is where they begin.

Lakehead 48
It looks like these guys do have their five: Tree, Brown, Alaugnon, McGuire and Quarrell all ran at Roy Griak. Quarrell did not have a good day, but he was fine at Western so we should just assume a blip. We are down to number six and no sign of Queen’s yet.

Queens 35
Oh, there they are. Archer and Wilkie would provide a nice one-two for the Gaels, but no news on whether the Bowman will let fly from his arc come championship time. There is a solid crop of rookies here, but the question is will coach Boyd’s tender nurturing work fast enough. Also, how will they cope with the loss of Jeff Costen?

Trinity Western 30
Some quick math shows that the Trinity Western men would have finished 3rd at Sundodger last weekend, a fair bit behind UBC and SFU. UVIC beat SFU by 10 points at Standford. So at least we know where the two west coast teams stand in relation to each other. A couple guys in the 25:xx is ok, but nothing to write home about. Unless you are writing a letter about a team that will probably finish in the top ten at CIS but is not likely to medal.

Western 20
This is the epitome of Ontario bias right here. While Western has certainly beat any of the teams they have faced who are not in the rankings, I am not convinced that a team like Regina or St. FX can’t take them out, simply based on a better higher end. The one thing the ‘Stangs have going for them is a fairly tight spread. They just need that spread to be faster.

St. FX 15
The X-Men are dominating the east-coast right now, no question about it.They have six guys in a 30sec spread over 8k and they are not being taxed at all. I am sure they are licking their chops at getting a crack at the number three ranked Rouge et Or on Thanksgiving weekend. That will be their chance to jump up the rankings.

Honourable Mention: McGill 12pts. This is a tight squad of loyal men, who may some day do great things. If they make it into the top ten this year, it will be a success.

Women

Guelph 100
Utter domination at the home meet, but it is hard to tell how meaningful that is as competition was not particularly stiff. Top 5 under 3:40/k for 6k is all kinds of good.

Western 83
The season so far: a ho-hum team time-trial; a dominant performance in the opener at McGill; a convincing win against the highly touted Toronto squad at home; a tighter victory over McMaster in Windsor. Are they slipping or is the competition just getting better? For a team ranked second, I’m a little concerned about the direction they are going, but I’m sure four weekends of racing in a row is not bad. I mean, the best 5000m runners usually race pretty much every weekend leading up to track nats, right?

Trinity Western 79
TWU has a very big four. Inglis, Jackson, Benson and Yee are all capable of being all-Canadian or at least top 20. The female DeSchiffart (this is Sun Run girl) has not raced yet, so stay tuned.

Toronto 62
Toronto has only raced at the Western meet; what we can deduce is that Stafford is indeed the real deal. The results show that the Blues’ #5 is a good 20sec up on Mac’s #5. But the issue is with the #6. What happens if someone goes down? That 6th runner for UofT is a bit of a fall off.

Victoria 52
Compared to TWU, the Vikes 6k times are not all that exciting. Different course, to be sure, but we are talking between 1-2min here. At least the Vikes have a spread of about 1min between their 1 and 5, and maybe this was just a rust-buster or something. There’s no reason to get excited about this team, but there’s no reason to worry, either.

McMaster 43
Ok, so Mac lost to Western and Toronto at the Western International. This is not really a problem as those are two solid teams. Laurentian was nipping at their heels, but presumably there were more runners in the wings to bolster the line-up. The team that ran in Windsor traded Cseresnyes for Myers, but still came up a little short of the win. Biding their time, I’m sure.

Queens 38
This is the real mystery team. Look at the line-up from Western. Look at the line-up from the St. Lawrence College meet. Totally different. No overlap. Only one Dunlap. No Staelhi. Also, Claire Sumner “unattached” at Fort Henry. Does that mean she’s not eligible? What’s going on? I have so many questions. If only the coach were known to frequent the internet, I could ask him. (UPDATE: confirmed, she is eligible. Just waiting for official ok.)

McGill 36
I could tell you exactly what is going on with McGill because I have first-hand knowledge of it, but I won’t. Let’s just say that every member of the prospective scoring team ran this week and leave it at that. Like the Death Star, once this team is fully operational…look out!

Calgary 15
Has Calgary even raced? Honestly, I haven’t seen anything.

Laurentien 12
Solid performance at Western, followed that up with solid performance in New York. 30sec split. The only issue is that the back end of that 30sec might be well over 19min on a 5k.

Honourable Mention: Ottawa. No points, not ranked by anyone, yet last weekend they went blow for blow with the #3 ranked NCAA D3 St. Lawrence Saints, and averaged below 23:00 for 6k. I mean, that’s sub-19 over 5k for an average and NOT ONE VOTE? Do you guys even read the results? Unfortunately for us pundits, they won’t race again until OUAs, reinforcing the whole “these races don’t mean anything” narrative.