Queen’s wins bid for 2018 & 2019 U Sports Championships

Gaels will see two years of home course advantage at Kingston’s Fort Henry Hills

The women`s team finished second at last year`s U Sports Championships.

On June 13, U Sports announced that Queen’s would be the site of the 2018 and 2019 U Sports Cross Country Championships. The championships, which bring in the country’s best cross country runners at the university level, will take place on Nov. 10 at the Hills of Fort Henry this coming fall.

For Gaels cross country head coach Steve Boyd, the honour of hosting comes with a number of appealing aspects. Home course advantage, Boyd said in an interview with The Journal, is just one of many.

"We’re very pumped about it … It’s great for us getting home course advantage, but it’s also great for our recruiting," Boyd said, explaining the publicity that surrounds the race will bring his program to the forefront of the recruiting scene.

The decision to award Queen’s two years of hosting was a step out of tradition for U Sports, who usually awards single-year contracts for those hosting national championships. Boyd said that originally, the plan was to host for the single year. However, in later talks,  U Sports offered Queen’s a two-year contract with the condition that it would have to undergo a formal bidding process. A vote took place with Queen’s coming out as the winner.

"We opted to roll the dice and get the two years which we were successful in doing," Boyd said.

The news comes with an opportunity for the men’s and women’s teams to prove themselves as some of the best teams in the country. The women’s team—who went into the 2017 championships ranked first in the country for seven consecutive weeks—missed out on gold to the University of Toronto. Meanwhile, the men’s team finished fifth in the country.

"Hopefully we'll see our teams doing really well. We have a great women's team this year and we're hoping we can win," Boyd said. "We'll be taking dead aim at that title on the home course."

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