Home > Runs & Races

The winners and losers of the 2017 Canadian Cross-Country Championships

Evaluating runners' performances from the 2017 national cross-country championships in Kingston, Ont.

Canadian Cross-Country Championships
Canadian Cross-Country Championships
Photo: Tim Huebsch.

The Canadian Cross-Country Championships in Kingston, Ont. marked the finale of fall cross-country, as Fort Henry hosted nationals for the third-consecutive year. Youth, junior, senior, masters and open runners competed across eight races in rainy, and subsequently muddy, conditions in eastern Ontario.

Canadian Running grades the notable performances from the championships, looking beyond (but also including) the champions.

Winners and losers

Sadie Sigfstead

A dominant win in the U18 girl’s race. She’s 14 and she trounced everyone else in the field, winning the 4K by a whopping 22 seconds. Canada, we have our next young running star in Sadie Sigfstead.

Kieran Lumb

Canadian Cross-Country Championships Photos
Photo: Tim Huebsch.

Lumb, who runs for UBC, made the decisive move in the U20 8K and took control against some tough competition, including defending youth champion Tyler Dozzi and 2017 OFSAA senior champion Thomas Witkowicz, who looked like he was going to follow up his OFSAA title with a U20 national championship after leading the first two laps of the race. Lumb congratulated every finisher of the race after his big win. Classy kid.

Brogan MacDougall

She’s 17 – meaning she was eligible for the U18 race but moved up an age category – and still had little problem dispensing of the U20 field after a careful opening lap. What’s most impressive is how aggressively she managed running from the front after obtaining the lead.

Jennie Baragar-Petrash

The Arizona Wildcat placed a strong second in the U20 6K and likely wasn’t on many people’s radars before the national championships.

Luc Bruchet

After not making the IAAF World Championships team and not having much to show for otherwise in 2017, Bruchet scored a second Canadian Cross-Country Championships senior title. (He first won in 2013.) And he did so the bold way, by leading the race out hard and holding on for the win. Only Charles Philibert-Thiboutot hung with Bruchet in the early stages, ultimately finishing third.

Eric Gillis

After moving back to his hometown to become the St. FX cross-country assistant coach, we all wondered if Gillis was making the permanent transition from donning spikes to holding the clipboard at cross-country meets. His second 5K in the senior men’s race was perhaps the best performance of the day. If the race were 12K, Bruchet would have been in trouble. Let’s hope Gillis runs another marathon (or two) in 2018. We’ve got four words for you, Gilly: Two. Ten. Oh. Nine.

Fun fact: Saturday’s championships marked 10 years since Gillis finished second at the 2007 Canadian Cross-Country Championships.

Claire Sumner

Sumner’s a great cross-country runner at the university level, but no one who’s telling you the truth would have picked her to beat Olympian Natasha Wodak for the national title. This is a massive win for the Albertan, who calls Kingston her second home, and she basically controlled the tone of the entire race.

Victoria Coates

Coates was in the mix for much of the race, before falling off in the last lap. But she made a late charge and jumped a couple of positions, first back onto the podium, and then grabbed the silver medal from IAAF World Championships qualifier Rachel Cliff, who faded in the final 200m.


Canadian Cross-Country Championships Photos
Photo: Tim Huebsch.

The weather could not have been much more appropriate (except maybe for snow) at a cross-country race. Rainy, windy and cool conditions meant muddy terrain, which provided dramatics for fans on-site and watching from home.

Natasha Wodak

Canadian Cross-Country Championships
Photo: Tim Huebsch.

A 1:12:58 half-marathoner in 2017, Wodak, an Olympian in the 10,000m, entered Saturday as the B.C. cross-country champion. A recent half-marathon in Monterey was in her legs. While the distance suits her (she’s the Canadian 10,000m record holder) Wodak finished fourth. 

Paula Findlay

The 2012 Olympian in triathlon finished 37th overall in the senior women’s 10K.

Kyle Grieve

The 2017 Canadian 5K bronze medallist finished 55th and was more than three minutes back of senior men’s champion Bruchet.

Nicholas Falk

A member of Canada’s senior men’s team at the 2017 IAAF World Cross-Country Championships, Falk dropped from seventh in 2016 to 22nd in 2017.

Kathryn Harrison

The senior women’s fourth-place finisher in 2016 dropped to 18th in 2017 after qualifying to represent Canada at the 2017 IAAF World Cross-Country Championships in Uganda.

Thomas Witkowicz’s fall

The reigning OFSAA senior boys champion made a move early in the race to carve out a lead over the rest of the U20 field but fell on the course’s toughest-to-navigate turn, a hairpin, and was swallowed up by the chase pack.

Sasha Gollish

The defending Canadian cross-country champion and 2017 U Sports cross-country champion was a no-show on race day at nationals in Kingston, due to an illness.

Leslie Sexton

The 2017 Canadian marathon champion dropped out of the senior women’s 10K.

Declan White

The 2016 U Sports cross-country silver medallist and 2017 U Sports second team All-Canadian finished in 46th position in the men’s 10K.

Fans of Canadian cross-country

Though a number of Olympians raced in Kingston, and the races were certainly exciting, some of Canada’s best skipped the event. Notable names include the best men’s 5K/10K runner in Canadian history, Mohammed Ahmed, 2017 NCAA cross-country champion Justyn Knight, 27:07 10,000m runner Cam Levins, defending champion Gollish (who did plan to run), Canadian marathon record holder Lanni Marchant and Olympians Gabriela Stafford, Geneviève Lalonde and Matt Hughes.

Another year when key talent doesn’t show interest, or is injured or ill.


Canadian Cross-Country Championships Photos
Photo: Tim Huebsch.

After the Kingston conditions, most cross-country spikes are as good as trash with layers of caked mud.

Canadian Running‘s ACXC 2017 coverage

Kieran Lumb’s display of sportsmanship
14-year-old wins U18 4K
Mud corner
Instagram for more photos
Complete set of videos/stories