Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. has officially been selected to host the 2018 and 2019 U Sports Cross-Country Championships. The school hasn’t hosted a collegiate championship since 2009, but has played host to the ACXC Canadian National Cross-Country Championships for several years. 

The Kingston course consists of loops of historic Fort Henry. The race includes rolling hills and scenic views of the beautiful St. Lawrence River. The women will run four two-kilometre loops, and the men will run four two and a half-kilometre loops.

In conjunction with the U Sports Championship, the Queen’s cross-country program will also run an alumni race, followed by an alumni get-together. Assistant coach Brant Stachel says there will be more information released in September regarding the event, but if interested, alumni should mark their calendar for November 10th. 

The Queen’s cross-country team has had great success in recent years. The women’s team finished first at the 2017 OUA Championships and second at the 2017 U Sports Championships two weeks later. The team has graduated several key players, including Claire Sumner, Molly Steer, Taylor Sills, Amy Stephenson and Claudia Belanger. Despite many Queen’s students graduating this year, Branna and Brogan MacDougall are both committed to running for Queen’s in the fall. The sisters are some of the strongest women in Canadian distance running and have a long history with coaches Brant Stachel and Steve Boyd. Their strength alone will mean huge points for the Queen’s Golden Gaels come championship season. 

RELATED: U Sports athlete profile: Getting to know Branna MacDougall 

On the men’s side, the team has graduated Eric Wynands, who will attend UBC in the fall, along with former OUA Champion, Alex Wilkie. 

The distance of the U Sports women’s race has long been debated. Over the past four years, the race has climbed from a 5K championship distance, up to an 8K event.

Certain coaches are eager to get the race distance up to 10K, the same as the men. However, in 2016, coaches voted for the women to run 8K for the following two seasons. The men’s championship distance remains 10K. 

Queen’s assistant coach Brant Stachel says the decision will likely be revisited at the 2018 OUA coaches meeting, before the 2018 OUA Cross-Country Championships. “I think it will likely settle at 8K for both men and women. Currently at the national level, men and women run 10K, and at the provincial level (OFSAA), they both run 6K. Meeting in the middle at 8K would make sense for U Sports competition.”

 

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