The Classic Kitely-McInnes Report CIS-XC Poll at Montreal Endurance #2 brought to you by New Balance

There are some very interesting battles looming at both the OUA and CIS championships. We’ve seen something from almost all of the teams, except of course the folks out west. Trinity Western acquitted themselves quite well at the Sundodger meet (Sarah Inglis won the race, Alison Jackson was 4th, Fiona Benson 25th). I can give you a list of runners who will likely NOT be representing University of Victoria this fall: Bocksnick, Collin, Hulse, D. Oxland, Trenholme, Paracholski, Pennock. That said, Haight and Cassidy are good to go, as are MacDonald and Van Vliet. There’s lots of depth there, but still a little mystery. So, to the rankings!

Women

1. Guelph (70pts, last poll: 70pts, 1st). We’ve seen what they can do. Despite getting 1-2ed by Queen’s on the individual side at their home meet, the Lady Gryphs seem a unit unstoppable.

2. Queens (59pts, last poll 34pts, 6th). Well, well, well. Coach Boyd is not shy with the internet posting, and his runners are not shy with the cross-country race winning. Stalhi showed she is, as Boyd said, a “stone-cold assassin” in winning the NB Vic Matthews 6k. He claims there is another Gael in the mix, too. Coates is Coates, of course.

3. Western (58pts, last poll 61pts, 2nd). The ‘stangs lost a spot and a couple points to their Eastern Ontario WASP-league counter-parts, but this is still a strong team. They were missing Pieterson and Kary at NB Vic Matthews and still stayed in the hunt. Home-course advantage and sentimental Vigars-power could put them over the top.

4. Toronto (47pts, last poll 42pts, 4th). The Blues stay stable in 4th. They had a couple impressive outings at Western and Guelph, but we have yet to see Gabby Stafford, whose inclusion on the team basically means they don’t have to count anyone over 19min for 5k. Also Stafford, though a rookie, is probably good for single digits at CIS. ***Late breaking news, Stafford is out indefinitely. Not going to change the order of things, but if she’s not back for OUA/CIS this puts a dent in Toronto’s podium aspirations.***

5. Victoria (46pts, last poll 50pts, 3rd). The Vikes drop a few spots, probably due to how impressive the Ontario teams have looked. There is news coming out of the island that the team is not as formidable as first assumed. But they still haven’t raced yet, so we will see.

6. McMaster (30pts, last poll 41pts, 5th). The Mauradettes drop a spot due to Queen’s big leap. They have not yet raced a full complement, but if you put the pieces together you can see that this is indeed a good team. Next action is right here in Montreal on October 12th, where they’ll go head to head with Queen’s, as well as the Quebec and Atlantic schools.

7. Laurentian (19pts, last poll not ranked). Dick’s girls go from not getting a single vote to leading the second wave of teams hoping to crack the top ten. They have been consistent, I will give them that.

8. McGill (17pts, last poll 21pts 7th). The Martlets did not fare as well as they usually do at Western, but both Emma Norman and Evelyn Anderson sat out. This is the most tightly bunched team in the country, with a potential for a pack of 6 runners to roll through the field within 10-15seconds of each other. That’s the kind of team that can be dangerous at CIS, picking up points at a 6x bonus.

9. Windsor (14pts, last poll 20pts 8th). The difference between Windsor, Laurentian and McGill is not much. The key will be whose 5th woman crosses the line first. Windsor may lack the depth of the other schools in this pack.

10. Trinity Western (11pts, last poll 6pts, not ranked). Finally, a little respect for the Scottish national team, I mean Trinity Western. Their lower ranking is likely due to 3 things: 1) what the heck is a good 6k time supposed to be? 2) Losing to UBC and Simon Fraser tells us nothing. 3) East-coast bias FTW.

Out of the top ten this week are Calgary (8pts) and Dalhousie (3pts). St. FX and Laval also got points. After the interlock, we’ll get a better sense of the Quebec and AUS teams, and whether they’ve been deservedly left off the list, or if east-coast bias really means OUA bias.

Men.

1. Guelph (70pts, last poll 70pts 1st). The weakness of this team is their 5th runner. I mean, there are at least 3 maybe 4 OUA guys from other schools ahead of him. What’s up with that? Come on Guelph, quit resting on your laurels and recruit some talent. Geez.

2. Laval (59pts, last poll 62pts 2nd). Les Boys maintain their podium ranking despite not having raced their two top runners yet. This team is very deep. I dare say that if the CIS scored 7 instead of 5, they would indeed give Guelph a run for their money. As it is, only 5 runners (maximum four names each) can score. The internal competition should keep this team ahead of the rest of the pack.

3. Windsor (53pts, last poll 46pts 4th). Lancers move up a spot, after a Janikowski sighting, and the return of Falk and Meloche. Kagumba and MacMackin improved quite a bit between Western and Guelph. This is a team on the rise.

4. Victoria (49pts, last poll 53pts 3rd). Reports of a decimated team call into question the Vikes ability to finish on the podium. That said, the team is deep, and the impression I got was that they are not too worried about the guys they are missing, as the guys they’ve got are up to the task.

5. McMaster (41pts, last poll 41pts 5th). The panel feels exactly the same this time around as they did in the pre-season, as far as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are concerned. We’ve yet to see Connor Darlington race, but Lionel Sanders seems to have recovered just fine from his Ironman on September 8th. Maybe it’s not as hard as the yuppies make it out to be.

6. Queen’s (40pts, last poll 36pts 6th). Coach Boyd is going to need to start a propaganda campaign for his men’s team now. I don’t suspect that 6th place would be a satisfactory result for the Gaels. But this is where the pollsters have them. Nick Mcgraw remains in the wings. At least they are ranked ahead of Lakehead.

7. Lakehead (28pts, last poll 30 pts 7th). The Lakers were the lone CIS squad of note at the Roy Griak meet in Minnesota (Regina and Manitoba finished well back). They acquitted themselves well without #1 Connor McGuire, whose absence I’m sure was related to graduate degrees requiring students to actually do some work. I know, sucks, right? Will they be able to get past Queen’s and Boyd’s withering stare?

8. Western (13pts, last poll 4 not ranked). The hosts of the CIS championships make their way back into the top ten. This seems a solid, workman-like squad. Considering they’ve beaten the rest of the OUA with ease, and the rest of the country is an unknown quantity at this point, a top ten finish is not out of the question. But there’s a pretty big drop-off in quality from the #7 position.

9. Calgary (9pts, last poll 13pts 9th). As many have said, “Calgary always manages to be there in the end.” Or something like that. The team has lost a few to graduation, but their horse, Brad Bickley, remains to pull his teammates along.

10. Trinity Western (7pts, last poll 7pts 10th). They did not score a full squad at Sundodger, but the guys they did have seemed ok. Time will tell.

Out of the top ten from last time: Dalhousie (1pt). Others getting points: St.FX (5pts), Toronto (4pts), Laurier (3pts) Regina (3pts).

Cross country is a very short season. This fall has played out a little differently than in past years, and I don’t know if this is a trend that will continue, or just a blip. Quebec teams have mostly only raced once (Laval and McGill went to Western, but Laval sent only men, and a completely different team than they did to Montreal). The Atlantic schools have also only raced once, at UNB. Meanwhile, in Ontario, Queens has already run 2 10ks and 2 6ks, not to mention the 8 and 5 at Western. Victoria has not raced at all yet. Are these choices a reflection of how coaches are managing the women’s move up to 6k? Is it really a big deal, or, as our favourite commenter would say, should they really be running 8k?

This coming weekend teams will race in Oregon, Illinois, Kentucky, Quebec City, Saskatoon, Waterloo, and Halifax. The weekend after that, the most interesting meet will be the Interlock in Montreal. Until then, all we have are your comments, so please, justify your thug of choice (please: I can’t keep giving Boyd so much air time. Someone else say something interesting!). Tell us how wrong we are. Make your own predictions and leave a link in the comments. And have a glass of scotch for Vigars.

Next poll in 3 weeks.