‘Rough day’ for cross-country

Team hoped for second but finished 10th and 13th

Liz Miller, left, and Charlotte Aust compete at Fort Henry.
Liz Miller, left, and Charlotte Aust compete at Fort Henry.

Riding high from strong performances at the provincial championships two weeks ago, the cross-country team travelled to Quebec City to compete in the national championships hosted by Laval University.

But the Gaels were unable to find their stride and came away with disappointing results. The men finished 10th out of 16 teams, and the women placed 13th, also out of 16.

“To put it bluntly, it was a rough day for us,” head coach Shane Lankins said. “We did not perform well.”

He said the team discussed their performance after the races but couldn’t come up with an
underlying reason for the results.

“Mentally we were prepared, physically we were prepared,” he said. “We all came to the
same conclusion. We would do nothing differently.

“Both the athletes and coaching staff felt that we were ready to go, but we really came out flat. It’s
very frustrating for the athletes to not do the job they know they’re capable of.”

Robert Kitz led the men, finishing 25th with a time of 34:02. Braden Novakowski, the 2006 Ontario University Athletics gold medalist, finished behind Kitz in 30th position. Victoria Swan was the top
female Gael at 52nd overall and Amy Schneeberg, the Gaels’ top performer at the OUAs, finished
66th overall.

Lakins said most of the athletes didn’t perform up to their potential.

“Jeff Barr and Ally Aasen both had good races,” he said. “But the rest of the 14 athletes didn’t have
good races. Things don’t end up well when 12 of your 14 athletes don’t have good races.”

Lakins said he felt the Gaels were in contention for second or third place going in.

“Second was definitely there for us, which makes it even more frustrating,” he said. “Two weeks
ago we beat a couple of the teams that were in the top five, and last week we didn’t.
“That’s kind of the strength of our conference: a team can finish fifth [at provincials] and medal [at nationals].”

At the awards banquet, Justin Hall, PhysEd ’06, received the CIS Community Service Award for his
contributions outside of athletics.

Although the season ended on a disappointing note, Lakins said he was happy with the team’s overall
performance throughout the season and said he’s looking forward to next year.

“We have a lot of potential graduations on both the men’s and women’s sides,” he said. “We could
potentially be looking at the same men’s team minus one face, or a lot of new faces. Same thing on the women’s side.”

However, Lakins feels that the team is well prepared to handle a large turnover.

“We’ve got a great group of rookies on both sides,” he said.

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