Gaels weekend round-up: week three

Football ekes out win over Guelph; men’s and women’s cross country podium at Western Invitational

Rookie Makenna Fitzgerald (second from left) finished third at this weekend’s Western Invitational.
Rookie Makenna Fitzgerald (second from left) finished third at this weekend’s Western Invitational.
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Football comes out on top despite Guelph’s late comeback

Saturday’s game against the Guelph Gryphons had all the makings of a heartbreaker for the Gaels.

After kicking off with a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, Queen’s sped ahead of Guelph in what looked to be a decisive win. With just over a minute left in the third quarter, kicker Nick Liberatore hit a field goal that put the Gaels up 33-7.

But in the final 15 minutes, Queen’s came to a standstill. Unable to keep Guelph’s offence off the field, Queen’s allowed three touchdowns and a field goal in the span of 13 minutes, bringing the score to 33-31.

It came down to Guelph missing a short 32-yard field goal in the final minute, propelling Queen’s to a 33-32 must-win victory. It was the Gaels’ first win over a nationally-ranked team all season—the Gryphons went into the weekend nationally-ranked tenth—and brought Queen’s back to a winning 3-2 record.

The Gaels will return home this coming weekend, where they’ll take on the defending Vanier Cup champion Western Mustangs. Queen’s has just three games left in their schedule as the hunt for an OUA playoff spot continues.

Women’s cross country finishes second in London

Despite missing two of their strongest runners on Saturday, the women’s cross country team won silver at the annual Western Invitational over the weekend.

Sisters Branna and Brogan MacDougall, the latter of whom was the 2017-18 OUA champion, sat out the race to give themselves a weekend of rest. While their absence was noted, Queen’s saw a few extremely encouraging performances from the team’s young crop of runners.

In the six kilometre race, first-year runner Makenna Fitzgerald finished third in her second career university race. Fifth-year Taylor Sills followed 11 seconds behind for a fourth-place finish. Along with a 12-place finish from rookie Laura Yantha and 15-place run from third-year Kara Blair, the Gaels managed to place second overall.

The weekend’s field of talent was deeper compared to last weekend, as Guelph and Western showed their teams off for the first time this season. Guelph finished ahead of Queen’s while Western came in third. Neither team raced at last weekend’s Queen’s Invitational, which Queen’s won decisively.

The women’s team will cross the border into Pennsylvania next weekend, where they’ll race at Lehigh University’s annual invitational.

Men’s cross country races to third place at Western

In their first look at this year’s OUA championship course, the Gaels had a strong third-place finish during their second race of the season.

Queen’s Invitational champion Mitchell De Lange was third across the finish line, accompanying the five other OUA runners who broke the invitational’s course record set in 2015. Teammates Brett Crowley and Matt Flood, both in their second year of eligibility, finished in 11 and 19 place, respectively.

Among the team standings, the Gaels finished 30 points behind the McMaster Marauders. Earlier this season, head coach Steve Boyd said he hopes the Gaels can progress to overcome the Marauders by the time the U Sports Championships roll around in November. Meanwhile, the Guelph Gryphons swept away the competition, finishing first with 34 points.

Next weekend, the Gaels will join their female counterparts at Lehigh before taking a week off from competition. Queen’s is roughly a month away from the OUA Championships, which take place at Western on Oct. 27.

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