Gaels conquer Fort Henry Hill

The Queen’s cross-country team placed second overall at the annual Queen’s Invitational in Kingston

Fourth-year Grace Keenleyside placed seventh with a time of 17:49 at the Queen’s Invitational.
Fourth-year Grace Keenleyside placed seventh with a time of 17:49 at the Queen’s Invitational.
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Fifth-year Matt Hulse (right) finished second overall with a time of 29:40.
Fifth-year Matt Hulse (right) finished second overall with a time of 29:40.
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The annual Queen’s Invitational kicks off at Fort Henry Hill.
The annual Queen’s Invitational kicks off at Fort Henry Hill.
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The nationally ranked Queen’s cross-country team hosted their invitational this weekend at Fort Henry Hill in Kingston. The Queen’s Invitational saw one of the best overall finishes the Gaels have had all season, placing second behind the Ottawa Elite Running Club.

Stephanie Hulse and Leah Larocque led the the women’s team to a first place finish, placing second and third respectively. Matt Hulse was the top finisher for the men’s team finishing second, 19 seconds off from first place. Two Gaels, Clay Patterson and Andrew Couchene, were also in the top 10 for the men’s team, which finished second overall. First-year head coach Steve Boyd said his team’s performance was outstanding.

“They really came out big as the host team,” he said. “They felt confident. I don’t think we had run a full team of the top people before this weekend for one reason or another. They were pretty excited and confident going in for the first time at full strength. I think that really buoyed us.”

Boyd said the team’s home advantage gave the team more confidence going into the weekend.

“They really attacked the course,” he said. “Knowing the home course the way they did, they were pretty confident on how to execute properly.”

The women’s team’s improvement to first overall from third last year gave the Gaels an extra push to place second as a team. For the second year in a row, the men’s team was the runner-up.

“I think this is the strongest results we’ve ever turned in on this course,” he said. “I think they’re really coming together just at the right time. We have provincials in two weeks and nationals in a month so things look quite good.”

With both the provincial and national championships approaching, Boyd said in the next two weeks his main goal is to keep the team focused.

“It’s pretty simple,” he said. “I’ve got to keep everyone healthy in terms of illnesses and viruses and I have to keep them healthy in terms of interest. If we can improve their conditioning a little bit over the next week that’s great, but the main priority is getting everyone to the start line in one piece.”

The Gaels will be in Guelph at the OUA Championship on Oct. 30.

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