The Classic Kitely-McInnes Report 2013 CIS-XC Poll at Montreal Endurance #3 brought to you by New Balance

It’s go time. Not quite full-on show time, but at least at the conference championships we know that most teams will have their best line-ups lined up, looking to show their respective athletics departments how competitive they can be within their geographically defined units. The CIS championship is the race that matters most, but the OUA, RSEQ and AUS championships matter, too. It would be nice if all of Can-West got together before nationals, but they have their reasons.

Since our last poll some teams have moved and some teams have shaken (shook?) On the ladies side, Dalhousie and Trinity Western made some noise, taking down ranked teams, and on the men’s side, TWU also showed some bones, as did Calgary. Olivier Collin has had a couple strong results, so it looks as though he will be a go for the Vikes. Queens looked strong at Interlock, but not as strong as Laval. Windsor and UofT had solid performances at US meets.

So it’s all coming together. This weekend, banners and medals will be handed out for the best geographically-defined performances on a particular day. And by Saturday afternoon, we’ll be churning up those results, in our rumour mill, like unground corn.

Women

1. Guelph (70pts, last poll 70pts, 1st). What has changed? 7 women under 10min for a track 3k in cross country season and only 4 of them are scorers. That’s right, sub-10 doesn’t make the team. Too bad, so sad.

2. Queen’s (61pts, last poll 59pts, 2nd). The Gaels reinforced their claim to a podium spot with a strong performance at Interlock. They still haven’t raced Western head-to-head with full squads.

3. Western (58pts, last poll 58pts, 3rd). Holding steady at third for now, the results for the ‘Stangs have been decent. The question is will they put it all together on Bob’s final day?

4. Toronto (41pts, last poll 47pts, 4th). Even without Stafford (I’ve not heard any word that she will return) this team continues to command respect. They’ve got good experience and run fairly close together, especially the top three.

5. Victoria (40pts, last poll 46pts, 5th). Same order as last time. Interesting that we’ve now seen them race, they got beat by a team that was much lower ranked, but they still hold on to 5th spot. The pollsters have faith in the Vikes!

6. Trinity Western University (34pts, last poll 11pts, 10th). SPARTA!!!! Isn’t that something people yell? Ok, so Bomba’s frantic Facebook messages to me that his team is for real appear to have merit. Seriously, there’s a nice top two here, and Benson after that.

7. McMaster (37pts, last poll 30pts, 6th). The Marauders get bumped down one due to TWU’s appearance on the scene. Despite getting beat by Dalhousie (not ranked, last poll!) and being only 1 point ahead of McGill (more on them later), this team is hanging around. Probably because the Interlock was close and who knows if they have any more runners up their sleeve?

8. Dalhousie (24pts, last poll 3pts, NR) To give credit where credit is due, Adam Stacey and Jeremy Walsh had these ladies ranked last time. Rich Lehman puts his full team together against some known competition and the respect-o-meter shoots through the roof. I also recall being bullish on this squad after Rich’s initial email. I had them 8th in the pre-season poll. This raises an interesting question: do teams want to be ranked? Is it helpful to race against other ranked teams before CIS? Or do teams prefer to lay low and do their work under the radar?

9. McGill (18pts, last poll 17pts, 8th) McGill drops a spot, but actually picks up a point. The Martlet’s stock really should be rising after basically running neck and neck with Mac. I also think that in a big race like CIS, that 20sec spread over 6k is going to be an advantage. And that’s 2-5. Porfilio is rounding into form and looking like a possible top 20 candidate (she was 22nd last year). If the others can be high 40s-low 50s, that’s 4th-6th range.

10. Laurentian (11pts, last poll 19pts, 7th). Lady Vees drop down a couple spots, probably to where they should be, battling with Mac, McGill and Dalhousie.

Only Calgary got a point and was not included in the top 10. There seems to be a consensus forming here. I threw the point to Calgary because as someone said earlier in the season, “they always finish 8th.” Windsor went down from 14 points to nil.

Men

1. Guelph (70pts, last poll 70pts, 1st). Last time I complained about the 5th. Well, I guess they’ve got that sorted out. Looks like it’s going to be Nixon!

2. Laval (60pts, last poll 59pts, 2nd). 5 of 7 pollsters had Laval in 2nd. Moulton and Gersten were apparently not impressed with the Workout Wednesday video. Perhaps they fall on the foolish side of the “was this workout brilliant/foolish?” question.

3. Windsor (54pts, last poll 53pts, 3rd). Windsor had a nice race in Wisconsin where Falk and Janikowski finished right together. They didn’t seem to be running a full squad. Doesn’t really matter who they throw out there. Lancers perform. I mean, they won titles with Kitely and “Mack Truck” Trenhaile!

4. Victoria (52pts, last poll 49pts, 4th). Looks like Collin is a go. This helps push the Vikes back up to respectability, after their reputation’s flirtation with weak constitutions and short courses.

5. Queens (41pts, last poll 40pts, 6th). After Interlock, the Gaels move up a spot. The emergence of Wilkie as a reliable 5th man adds meat to the potatoes of this blue collar team. What I really want is Boyd to come on here (or trackie) and guarentee that his team will beat those pansys from Vancouver Island. You know he wants to.

6. McMaster (34pts, last poll 41pts, 5th). Apparently the drop in points is due to losing to Queens. But you guys know they didn’t have The Colonel, Lionel Sanders, in Montreal, right? And he does Ironmans (Ironmen?), you know that, right? Ah, it’s too tight to call.

7. Lakehead (29pts, last poll 28pts 7th). What we do know is that there’s no way Lakehead will beat Queens. I don’t know. It all depends on who the 5th guy is behind McGuire, Flowers, Tree, and Brown. If one of the rookies steps up, the T-Wolves might maul the Gaels!

8. Trinity Western University (14pts, last poll 7pts, 10th). More respect for the Spartans. Fair enough. They ran a 10k in Washington, which is different. Who runs 10ks anymore? I am concerned with the 90sec spread from 1-5, especially since the top two guys are not particularly all-Canadian contenders.

9. Western (9pts, last poll 13pts 8th). I guess my question about this squad is whether 6th place at OUAs is enough to get them to CIS? Will they run regardless, since it is on home turf? Or will Vigars play the hard-ass that he plays so well right to the end? (Actually last year they were 6th at OUA and got to run, so I guess they will again this year).

10. Calgary (6pts, last poll 9pts, 9th). While there is some discussion about the quickness of the course that they raced on, at least it has become clear that Bickley is in decent shape. Word is there were a couple top guys missing from their roster.

There were quite a few other teams getting votes, an indication that the consensus achieved on the women’s side is not mirrored chez les hommes. St. FX (4), Toronto (3), Laurier (3), Alberta (2), Regina (3), Dalhousie (1) all got votes. Becky keeps voting for Laurier and I don’t know why. They did win the Brock Open by two points over York, so there’s that. (Luv ya, Pete!)

Who’d we miss? Who is going to surprise this weekend at the conference championships and steal the show? My dark horse pick is the UofT men. Who is yours?

Voters are: Rebecca Pieterson, Chris Moulton, Steve Gersten, Adam Stacey, Jeremy Walsh, Brittany Therrien, and John Lofranco