Women’s pre-conference rankings from the Classic Kiteley-McInnes CIS-XC poll at Montreal Endurance brought to you by New Balance

I can’t believe it’s only two weeks till the big show in Guelph! Coming up next are the conference meets across the country (minus CanWest). Every team has had at least a couple races under their belt, the strong get stronger, now we’re really able to see how things are going. From what I’ve seen…the key thing is basically for the team’s top people is to stay HEALTHY. Until the conference meets are run, I’m still a little bit grasping at straws to know exactly who are going to make up the 7 for each team…but at least we know who’s running well, who’s MIA, and who will be gunning in those front packs – still waiting on a wildcard to take a risk and come out to shock us all.

Guelph – 100pts:  Katelyn Ayers put on a show at the Princeton Invite, coming in second with Kartina Allison finishing right behind in 5th. Sophie Watts was about 10 seconds behind. The team swept up lots of team points, coming in second overall to Penn State. These girls are ready to roll and I think that they are looking pretty secure for OUA’s. DST is coming through as usual prepping the girls for a showdown at conference.

Trinity Western – 73pts: On the West side, we have Trinity with 73 points – they just raced at BC Club Provincials. I’ve been hearing a lot of smack talk about the course being short, the course being this, the course being that. To clear it up – yes it was short. I raced it, was shockingly surprised by my time, then went over it after with my Garmin. To confirm, the course was about 300m short. Really though, does the distance of the race matter that much? I’m more impressed by the match ups and the race itself. It was a speedy course and a great stacked field. Inglis cleaned up, finishing in first ahead of Rach Cliff and Hilary Stellingwerff – I know I keep saying this but my big prediction is that she is going to take the win in a couple weeks. Notably, Regan Yee finished 8th and if these two can have a good next block of training while the other conferences have their own championships, they’re going to put on an amazing show at nationals.

University of Toronto – 70pts: A bunch of their girls were at the Queen’s XC Invite, but Stafford was missing, as was Jewett and Gollish. Their first girl across the line was Madeleine Kelly in 8th then Honor Walmsley  in 11th. Missing their key scorers was a bit of a hit, having Queens and McMaster finishing ahead of them in the team scores. Hopefully Stafford is healthy and just taking a weekend off to train – they will definitely need her. From what we’ve seen in results, out of the big trio it may just be her. Stafford is their beacon of hope if they want to have any chance of competing for team points. Stay tuned for OUA’s, it will have to take a lot of stepping up for there to be any contest against Guelph. If track CIS is any indication of their ability to bring it on game day, they may be just fine.

Université Laval    59pts: The Laval Ladies were at the Invitation des Inks in Quebec, Chicoutimi. Not sure where that is but it seemed like the place to be for the Quebecois. It was a sea of Laval finishes as there were 12 in the top twenty spots. The teams competed against University de Montreal, Sherbrooke, Concordia, and some from McGill, as well as others. basically all the RSEQ schools sent people. A great showing for Laval as they had Jeanne Mercier finish second, just missing first place narrowly. Marguerite Plante Dube was fourth and her teammate Marilou Ferland-Dangle was right behind her. I think these girls are the dark horses and may prove to be severely underrated  – they’ll need to have there ace of their lives but could they be the ones to take down the big three?

Queen’s University    53pts: Julie-Anne Staehli is proving to be unstoppable this season, finishing first at the Queens Invite – Sumner finished behind her in 3rd. These two have been rolling all fall and showing consistent results. Their team has some depth as we saw in the results from their home Invite. They’re not a team to be counted out for conference!

Dalhousie University    48pts: The U of Moncton Invite gave the East coasters another opportunity to race a 6km. Dalhousie showed that they are the favourites to take the title at AUS, flooding the top spots – notably Colleen Wilson and Michelle Reddy who blew the field out of the water. The Dal girls are turning heads this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if a big performance at conference put them more in our radar.

McMaster University    43pts: Maddy McDonald is still the top scorer – being the first McMaster girl to cross the line at the Queens Invite – Emily Nowak and Gabrielle Foran also placed 14th and 15th. Respectable finishes and times all within a minute of each other. Nothing outrageous but still promising!

University of Victoria    42pts: Not gonna lie, it hurts to see my girls ranked so low down the list. We have a few blows but Chloe Hegland and Shauna McInnis finished well at BC’s! Chloe is a cross country machine and is improving with every race. Emma Bibault and I worked together  so I know there’s lots more there when she unleashes another three weeks of training. The team is pretty young – it’s mostly a matter of who can stay healthy. It might be a tough year, but anything can happen with a few weeks of great training. As I usually say, don’t sleep on the Vikes. 

McGill University    18pts: Melanie Myrand finished ahead of Sumner from Queens at Queens: pretty impressive. The race was pretty quick too! The rest of the McGill ladies A squad had the weekend off, but at least we know that Myrand is in a good position to go after an individual top 10 spot.

Western University    16pts: The team is lacking the depth this year but Katherine Lampard had a good race at the Queens Invite. I don’t think they’ll be a big threat for OUA’s for titles, but we will see if they’re able to step up!