As the NCAA season got underway last weekend, several CIS teams travelled south for big races, and the results were mixed. Some teams flourished under the spotlight of deeper competition, while others learned they have some work to do before the conference championships at the end of the month. Full results at Trackie.
It was a quiet week in Quebec, as the Vert et Or meet in Sherbrooke attracted only a handful of runners. On the women’s side, McGill dominated with a perfect score, despite not running a full squad. On the men’s side, Tony Larouche of Laval took advantage of a depleted field, to win a muddy 8k in 26:23, and lead the Rouge et Or to an easy win over Sherbrooke. The real question we need to ask is whether this is Sherbrooke’s full squad: on their home course, we would have expected a debut from 2010 champ Olivier Lavoie. Oli is making us wait.
It was an off week in the AUS. It seems anathema for some to go without racing for a week, but in the AUS, they got a week off to train. How nice.
The only race held IN Ontario was the Don Mills Open at Waterloo. It was actually the club runners who took centre stage, as Brent Smith of London Runner Distance Club, led Ben Flanagan and Josh Morrison, both of the HOH Running Academy, on the podium. The first CIS runner was Brent Medinger of the Laurier Golden Hawks, and he helped his club beat out the host Warriors for 2nd in the team standings, behind HOH.
On the women’s side, Kristen Flanagan led a sweep of the podium with Waterloo teammates Heather Dimond and Karina Sils. The Warriors (they’ll always be Athenas to me) edged out Laurentian by 2 points for the title.
A couple top ranked teams and individuals travelled to Chicago for the Sean Earl Loyola Lakefront Invitational. The McMaster ladies finished 1st overall, lead by Victoria Coates in 2nd place and Madeline McDonald in 7th. Toronto’s Tamara Jewitt won the race out-right, and her performance helped the Blues to beat out the formerly number one ranked Western Mustangs. The Stangs finished without captain Becky Pieterson, who will hopefully be back in action by the time the important races roll around. The Windsor Lancers finished 13th, lead by Jen Corrick’s 11th place finish.
On the men’s side, McMaster was again the top CIS team, finishing 6th on the strength of a 10th place run by Lionel Sanders, who was followed closely in 13th by rookie Connor Darlington, who made his racing debut. The Marauders outdistanced a Toronto team that is still looking for a solid 5th runner, and a Western team that looks to have fallen on hard times. They probably need to party more. That should fix it. Windsor sent a B team, and finished behind Western.
Windsor’s men’s A team was at Notre Dame, where Matt Walters won the Gold race in 24:28, to lead his team to a 4th place overall finish. Paul Janikowski did not race.
At the Paul Short Invitational, Queen’s raced what looks like their full squad (*EDIT, nope, still missing Costen), as Archer, Loney, McGraw, Cashin, Patterson and Cameron were all within 42 seconds of each other over 8k. Their ladies team did not race. What were they doing, training?
Finally, the leaders of the pack, the Guelph Gryphons, travelled to Minnesota for the Roy Griak Invitational, aka “The Griak.” The men looked strong early, and only rookie Yves Sikubwabo faded hard, going from 7th to 33rd in the last 2k. Nixon and Proudfoot finished 3rd and 4th respectively, and Aaron Hendrikx had a decent race in 21st. The team finished 3rd.
Dylan Brown of Lakehead was third in the D2 race in 25:39. That’s a solid time that may indicate he’s a top 20 contender at CIS.
On the ladies side, Guelph finished 5th, led by returning CIS champ Gen Lalonde who covered 6k in 21:30 (equivalent to about 17:45 over 5k). This is still not quite Guelph’s full team: Lalonde, Thompson in 21:50 (about 18:00), Seccafien and Yungblut in 22:17 (18:25), the Frost twins in 22:36 (Nadine, 18:40) and 22:42 (Lydia, 18:45). Still missing Ciara Kary and Johanna Brown. Maybe now they’ll get some respect from the pundits, even if they haven’t actually won a meet yet.
Regina’s Kelly Weibe had the race of the day, at Griak, finishing 20secs up on the field for the win, and then saying later that he had a bad day. If Kelly doesn’t break the course record at Thames Valley in November, his teammate Iain Fyfe has pledged to buy beers for the entire CIS. Ok, maybe he just said he’d buy me a beer… Fyfe acquitted himself reasonably well on the course, finishing 47th, and the Cougar men were 12th. They’ll need Wyatt Baiton to return to his ROY form to do some damage at CIS, however.
Another interesting note is that Karissa Lepage of Regina finished 3rd in the D2 race, in 22:13 (18:20), making her a solid All-Canadian candidate. Despite Lepage, the women’s team at Regina is not a top-ten threat.