Nation’s fastest

Women claim two of three CIS medals

Two podium finishes won Queen’s women a bronze medal at the CIS championships.

Bolstered by standout races from second-year Julie-Anne Staehli and fifth-year Victoria Coates, the women’s team snagged third place at last weekend’s national meet in London. The Gaels men finished fifth in the nation for the second consecutive year.

Two weeks after finishing second at the OUA championships, Staehli triumphed in the women’s six-kilometre race with a time of 20:51.4. She was 17 seconds faster than the second-place finisher, the Guelph Gryphons’ Carise Thompson.

The gold medal was the first for a Gael since 2003. Along with the first-place finish, Staehli received cross-country Athlete of the Year honours.

“Julie-Anne performed brilliantly,” head coach Steve Boyd told the Journal via e-mail. “Once she moved with 1500 metres to go, there was never any doubt she would win. The only surprise was the complete ease with which [she] dropped Victoria and the Guelph girls.”

Staehli wasn’t the only Gael to find the podium, as Coates capped off her university career with a bronze medal. The veteran nearly caught Thompson in the final 100 metres and finished less than a second away from a silver medal.

“Victoria was, once again, outstanding,” Boyd said. “The course and conditions just did not suit her as much as those at OUAs.”

The two runners’ individual performances paved the way for the third-place finish, one spot higher than the team’s finish at the provincial level.

The Gaels finished with 112 points, behind nine-time defending champion Guelph and the second-place Western Mustangs.

The Gryphons also captured the men’s title, continuing their dominance of cross-country on the national level.

Three top-25 finishes led Queen’s on the men’s side, with Jeff Archer, David Cashin and Tyson Loney finishing within 23 seconds of each other. The Gaels tallied 140 total points, 50 back of the third-place Laval Rouge et Or.

“The men were actually outstanding in finishing fifth, which was one spot better than their national ranking going in,” Boyd said. “With the loss of veteran Nick McGraw to a virus, our chances [of] replicating our performance from last year were looking grim, but the guys got it done.”

McGraw wasn’t the only Gael unable to compete, as the women’s team was without second-year Charlotte Dunlap due to injury.

Despite the missing runners, Boyd said both squads met expectations at nationals.

“We did what we thought we could do,” he said. “We had the potential to go one [spot] higher on both sides, but that would have required that we be 100 per cent healthy going in.”

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