Over the past four weeks, Canadian Running has brought you cross-country results from across the country. With the conference meets approaching, it’s now time to take a look at who we predict will wear the AUS, RSEQ, OUA and Can West crowns. Most teams took this week off to prepare for their area championships, so with little to report in the way of results, we bring you the cross-country conference predictions.
On the east coast it will almost certainly be the St. FX men and women battling the Dalhousie Tigers to see who take the team title. The St. FX women are eight-time AUS champions, with the men taking the title on 10 occasions.
Both teams finished very close together at the Interlock XC Invitational two weeks ago, with the St. FX men slightly edging out Dal and the Dal women slightly edging out St. FX. Our prediction is that it’ll be the X men and Dal women who take the title.
Individually, Jane Hergett of St. FX and Andrew Peverill of St. Mary’s are the picks for the win.
In the RSEQ, the Laval men should run away with the title, but the women’s race will be much closer. It’s not clear who will win between Laval and McGill, with the two teams only separated by one point in their most recent meetup.
The Laval men are led by Jean-Simon Desgagnes, and are a tight group who typically finish very close together (the hallmark of a great championship team). The Laval women were the 2018 U Sports champions, making history for their region by becoming the first team to win a cross-country championship from the RSEQ.
However, the McGill ladies pose a threat to the defending champions. They’re led by Elizabeth Hirsch, who has consistently won races in the early season. The one curve ball is that a lot of the early season runs are only 6K, and championship distance is 8K. The Laval women have proved that they shine on longer courses, so it’s a toss-up between the two. Our bet is on Laval as a team, with Hirsch taking the individual win.
The Queen’s women have the OUA on lock. It would be a pretty huge upset if any team was able to take them down. They’re led by Brogan and Branna MacDougall (both in contention for the individual win) and are supported by a talented group of women that includes Kara Blair, Makenna Fitzgerald and Tori Bouck.
The Guelph women will certainly bring a strong team, but as long as both MacDougall sisters are on the start line, it’s unlikely they’ve got the runners to pull an upset.
On the men’s side, it’ll be a close race between McMaster and Guelph. The championship is taking place on Mac’s home course of Bayfront Park. The two teams have only met once, with McMaster edging out Guelph, but the Gryphons are a notoriously strong championship team and not to be underestimated this weekend. For the individual men’s title, our pick is Max Turek of McMaster.
Much like the Queen’s women, it would take a lot to upset the Calgary men this weekend at the Can West Championships. To position the race even stronger in their favour, it’s on their home course. The Calgary men have consistently won the races they’ve entered and had their top three or four men cross the finish line together. The Calgary men won the 2018 U Sports championship and they’re serious contenders for another win in 2019. Russell Pennock of Calgary is our pick for individual champion.
On the women’s side, it’ll likely be the Trinity Western Spartans who take the win. The team hasn’t raced much this season, but of the races they’ve done, they’ve come out on top against the other western schools. They’re led by Joanna Williams, a fifth-year psychology student.