Based on the results from today at McGill, and of course on the rumours and “bon mots” that get passed around, here’s a semi-serious preview of La Belle Conférence. Please report any inaccuracies and they will be corrected. It’s exciting that we’ve got 7 schools competing in the RSEQ University XC circuit now. Heady times!
1. Sherbrooke has everyone back, minus Nicholas Thouin, and have added another African road runner, Floribert Nsengiyumva, and Guillaume Menard, a steadily improving runner. Hard not to like them to repeat as champs. Hard to say whether they will crack the top ten at CIS. Depends on how big of a stud Lavoie can be this year.
2. Laval is hosting CIS and is gunning for a medal. They handled Western with ease today and didn’t even have all of their top guys (though Western was without O’Neill) . I like this team a lot, but their weakness will be relying on a) triathletes (Ricard and Hamelin), b) rookies (Emmanuel Boisvert, but he’s a stud, watch for him, Deshaies) and c) 1500m specialists (Thiboutot and Labranche). Their coach is very good, though. I might have a bit of a man-crush.
3. Concordia loses Stephane Colle, but adds former NAIA and Canadian Mountain Running team member Simon Driver. Ryan Noel-Hodge is in all-Canadian form coming off a 14:46 5k this summer, and 5th year Sofiane Guend is in the best shape of his life. After that there are more depth guys than ever before, but will need to do some developing over the season if the Stingers want to be a top 10 CIS team.
4. McGill loses two solid vets (Kramer and Snider), and the ROY curse continues as Jay Boychuck will not return. Their seemingly rag-tag team performed better than expected on the home 6k course. Will they be able to hold it over 10k?
5. UQAM is a new team coached by Francois Pap and have one solid guy in
Phillipe Soucy. We have Soucy on tape saying he was retiring, so this is good news for the ladies.
6. UQTR will battle with UQAM for best of the new teams. Three years back now, they’ve built a decent depth of 10 runners at least.
7. UQAC is hosting the conference championships, but don’t look like they
will contend. Their 1-5 split of over 7min shows they lack depth, but hopefully there are a few more bodies back in Chicoutimi getting ready on the home course.
1. McGill have Sarah McQuaig back and Jessica Porfilio has to be an early favourite for CIS ROY. They beat Western today despite a suspiciously slow performance by Charlene Puel, who was their 3rd last year. Could she be injured again? They have picked up a couple new names and don’t seem to be returning as many as they should have. They still managed to beat Western (minus Pieterson), but a real test will be next week on their bonding trip to the Western International.
2. Laval has Catherine Cormier back, and she’s got to be a lock for 1st team all-Canadian, if not a medal. Heck, she could win the whole thing. Doesn’t look like they quite had their full team out today. Last year’s ROY Joanie Roy was absent at the McGill race, even though she was in the entry list. According to the team blog, they are bringing back a solid pack.
3. Concordia probably has their best women’s team ever. Dom Roy and
Coralina Tse were low 30s at CIS last fall and hope to move into the
top-20, and perhaps challenge for all-Canadian status. Top rookie from last fall Luci Dykstra dropped about 90sec off her McGill open time and is looking good to round out the top 5. Newcomer Val Sicard-Thibodeau has a competitive background in swimming, and surprised her coach this weekend with her performance. A nice combination of veterans and rookies round out the Stingers’ squad.
4. Sherbrooke looks to have a solid team, but no big guns. A 1-5 split of
:38sec is good news. A 1-7 split of :48 is even better. If you add their 8th runner, it’s still only :52. That’s depth.
5. UQAC seems to be the best of the “UQ” teams on the women’s side, at least this weekend. Si il y en a des gens de là qui lisent régulièrement, et vous avez plus d’information sur ces athlètes, please send it along!
6. UQAM followed closely. If Coach Pap can convince his Brebeuf CEGEP kids to sign up for this artsy inner-city school, he’ll have quite the pipeline going.
7. UQTR did not field a full team this weekend. J’espère qu’ils en auront une la prochaine fois, à Québec en Octobre.