Cross country hosts CIS finals

Men’s team finishes just short of fifth in Canada while women are 10th

Clay Patterson (left) and Matt Hulse take off during Saturday’s CIS cross-country final at Fort Henry Hill.
Clay Patterson (left) and Matt Hulse take off during Saturday’s CIS cross-country final at Fort Henry Hill.

Last Saturday afternoon Queen’s hosted the CIS cross-country national championships on Fort Henry Hill. Despite the intermittent drizzle, conditions proved to be highly conducive to racing with many Queen’s competitors attaining personal best times.

The women’s five-kilometre race was first, with Queen’s finishing 10th out of 19 teams. Leah Larocque led the Gaels. Her 18:23.6 finish landed her 33 out of 131 competitors.

“We both knew she had a good race in her,” women’s coach Curt Bolton said.

Following Larocque was Patricia Roney in 43rd, Alicia Kallos close behind in 44th, Maggie Hutton in 58th and Grace Keenleyside hot on her heels in 59th, netting Queen’s a team score of 237.

“The girls ran really well,” Bolton said. “I think four out of the top five ran the fastest times they have ran in their lives.”

He said it was hard to be upset with the result.

“I know they’re disappointed coming in 10th... but they were 27 points from their team goal, which was to finish in the top five. So we had a pretty good team run.”

He said the future looks bright for women’s cross country at Queen’s.

“Virtually everyone is back next year on our side, and I fully expect that they’ll be running much faster next year.”

The men’s 10-kilometre race followed, with Matt Hulse leading the Gaels with a time of 32:16.8, finishing 17 out of 130 racers.

Clay Patterson finished 39th, Joshua Potvin came 50th, Oliver Hatheway finished 56th and Michael Nishiyama finished 65th. Their combined score of 227 landed them only 5 points shy of the fifth-place University of Calgary Dinos.

Hulse, who trimmed 44 seconds off his previous best time, said the competition’s calibre drove him to run harder than the average race.

“The race went out fast. It was faster than I had gone out before and I felt great the whole race. It’s not about the first few laps, it is about having it in the last lap.”

Second-year runner Patterson said the course was tough, but the team was prepared.

“It was a really fast, hard course today,” he said. “It’s not something we’re not used to. We have been training on this course all season.”

Men’s coach Kevin Dunbar said the team’s hard work all season led to their superior performance.

“I think they exceeded expectations,” he said. “They should be proud of themselves for the way they performed as a team.  I had a feeling they could do big things if they were patient, if they supported each other, and if they stuck together. They did everything I asked them in training, and more.”

Guelph captured the top prizes at the competition, winning the men’s banner for the fourth straight year and the women’s banner for the fifth straight year. This brings their total to 15, a national record.

Dunbar said there are no hard feelings in the league, even with one team remaining so dominant.

“For some of them... this is base training for track and field,” he said. “It’s all good fun. All the guys here are friends with guys from different teams, and the true spirit off competition is that they push each other. “

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