The RSEQ XC season began Saturday morning on Mont Royal (2012-mcgill-mens-results, 2012-mcgill-womens-results), so let’s get you caught up on the outlook for 2012. I wanted to get this out before the race, but some coaches didn’t send in any information about their teams. Now that there’s been a race, at least some holes can be filled..
1. McGill. The Martlets gain Caroline Pfister and Ali Barwick, and lose only Cat Drouin from their top 5. With Porfilio, McGuaig, Flynn and Cummings back in the fold, this is a team poised to continue the Red and White dynasty. They dominated their home meet, and had seven runners across the line before any other Quebec school had one.
2. Laval. Even without Joanie Roy to lead the way, this team seems to be a cut above the rest of the league. Laurence Cote, though an 800m specialist, has the talent to challenge the top runners in the conference, and recruits Sarah-Michelle Brochu and Marguerite Plante-Dubé will bolster a solid squad somewhat affected by graduation. A bevy of sub-5:00 1500 talent gives Coach Felix many weapons to choose from.
3. Concordia. The loss of last year’s bronze medalist Dominique Roy, and the continued absence of promising rookie Coralina Tse mean the lady Stingers lack a Queen bee, but the group of Mokrusa, Howes, Beatrix and Peters have been training together since last fall, and their chemistry could help this team surprise. In fact, their top 5 spread at McGill was only 33 seconds, and they managed to beat a pared down Laval team.
4. Sherbrooke. Gabrielle Lebel leads the Vert et Or, and veteran Caroline Gendron returns, but what will Coach Paquet be able to coax from the rest of the team? Sherbrooke has often been a team greater than the sum of their parts. They will have to be this fall to make an impact.
5. UdeM. Led by Charlotte Jacquemin, UdeM steps into the league ahead of the three UQ schools. They have a relatively tight squad as well, with seven runners within 1:47 of each other.
6. UQTR. Their top runner at McGill was Vanessa Lahaie. They are a growing team, and it seems like they have taken a step forward, based on Saturday’s debut.
7. UQAM. The Citadins lack a top runner, and seem to lack depth as well. With the men’s team much improved, perhaps it will only be a matter of time for the women as well.
8. UQAC. Did not field a full team at McGill this weekend, but based on last year’s finish, they could finish the season ahead of UQAM.
1. Laval. If summer track times are to be believed (and like Shakira’s hips, they don’t lie), this team is ready to take it to the next level. The only Quebec school ranked in the men’s top ten, polled by some as high as 2nd in the nation, Lapointe’s Angels are hoping to dominate this year on the turf. Returning champ J-S Lapointe was injured for most of the summer, but if I say anything negative about him, he’ll probably win, so let’s just call him the favourite right away. Chuck, Manny, Tony, JD…are these guys from Quebec City or the Jersey Shore? The title is theirs to lose. Don’t screw it up!
2. McGill. The Redmen are back. McGill reloaded this year with probably the top recruit, Ben Raymond, and his close friend Vincent Parent-Pichette both joining Coach Barrett’s squad. VPP was a solid 5th runner this weekend, and an improved Michael Abrahmson, as well as rookies Louis-Erik Demers (of the Canadian Mountain Running Team), Charles Litwin and Réda Sarhani will make this an interesting team to watch.
3. Sherbrooke. Olivier Lavoie gets some high level help as Alex Mavrovic returns home from a stint in Connecticut to wear his club colours. Menard, Rouleau and Nsengiyumva round out a decent top five. Question for this team: experience and health. How ready is Lavoie to race? Can Rouleau handle 10k?
4. UQAM. On the strength of Philippe Soucy, and a tight 3-4-5 group, the Citadins upset the Stingers on the weekend, and as such, they deserve the higher ranking. Things may change as the season develops, but for now, this is a much improved squad.
5. Concordia. Ryan Noel-Hodge wants the individual title and he wants it bad. But will a “low stick” bring down the Stingers’ score enough to compete? Simon Driver returns and is closer to his youthful 31min 10k shape, skiing man-beast James Coulton is back in the fold, a promising rookie in Francis Dumoulin claims to not feel pain. The final piece of the puzzle is the man they call Kazi. Don’t count the Stingers out too soon.
6. UQTR. This team could make it interesting, and pressure the 3-4-5 position from below. A tight spread of runners (50sec from 1-5) makes them a dangerous spoiler.
7. UdeM. The first year for any team will be a rough one, but everyone loves an expansion team. Welcome to the league!
8. UQAC. The jury is still out on UQAC until we see a full team. Three rookies and two second-years came down to Montreal, but one assumes there are more runners up in the Saguenay.
A new thing we’re going to do this year is keep standings for the league. It’s not official in any way, but an interesting way to look at the sport, and potentially translate things into “team sport” talk for those who may not quite get the whole “lowest score wins” thing. I’m not quite sure what the significance of the points and points ratio (expressed as points per runner, so kind of like average placing) will be, but it might be interesting.
So below, after one meet, we have six decisions for the women, and seven for the men. I’ve also scored the meet as if ONLY Quebec schools ran. McGill gets a perfect women’s score, and their men just edged out Laval. Home meet advantage or not, McGill leads the league after week one.