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Booms and busts of ACXC 2019

Everything that went down at this year's national cross-country championship

The Athletics Canada Cross-Country championships took place last weekend in Abbotsford, B.C. There were upsets, triumphs and out-of-the-box performances on the west coast course. The conclusion of this event also concludes the 2019 cross-country season. With that, we bring you the booms and busts of the 2019 national championship.

RELATED: Lalonde, Tate win ACXC 2019


Gen Lalonde

Gen Lalonde at ACXC Nationals in 2018. Photo: Maxine Gravina

Lalonde is the Canadian queen of cross-country–no doubt. After an extremely long track season (which started by breaking her own Canadian steeplechase record in May and ended with a World Championship final in October) she successfully defended her national championship title on Saturday. Full kudos to Lalonde.

Mike Tate

Mike Tate, ACXC 2018.

Tate is an east coast native who attended school at Southern Utah University (the same school as Cam Levins). The runner, who now trains out of Speed River in Guelph, won his first senior national cross-country title on Saturday. Tate beat defending champion Luc Bruchet en route to victory.

Ben Preisner

STWM 2019 race start. Photo: Maxine Gravina

Preisner ended up finishing fourth in the senior men’s race on Saturday. He’s only five weeks out from his first half-marathon at STWM, shocking spectators as “Ben from Canada” ran with the elite men for their first 21.1K. His debut of 1:03:08 was pretty impressive. While Preisner isn’t yet at the level of Tate or Bruchet (who finished second), he’s only 23 and certainly an up-and-coming member of the Canadian elite distance scene.

Sadie Sigfstead

Canadian Cross-Country 4K
Photo: Canadian Running

Sigfstead won the national U18 cross-country title as a 14-year-old back in 2017. Two years later, she’s 16 and racing in the U20 race. This B.C. native is a distance running force, and despite her young age (she could be racing down a category in U18) she certainly showed that she was capable of running with the junior women.

Jean-Simon Desgagnes

Top three men: Russell Penncok, Jean-Simon Desgagnes, Connor Black. Photo: Maxine Gravina

The Laval runner had a difficult U Sports championship (he finished 18th but had the goal of winning) but got redemption on Saturday in Abbotsford. Desgagnes finished seventh in a strong field of men, and among the runners he beat was U Sports silver medallist Mitchell Ubene.


The weather

Ideal cross-country weather is sloppy. Like the hay bales and hills, the weather is supposed to impede a runner’s progress and truly test participants’ grit. Last Saturday’s weather was disappointingly pleasant and sunny. While it was cold, it certainly wasn’t the rain, snow and ice that this year’s OFSAA runners experienced.

The mid-race walker

During the senior women’s race, there was an accidental pack leader (who didn’t even realize she was on course.) A woman in a pink jacket stepped right in front of Lalonde, Sarah Inglis and Maria Bernard-Galea.

Rob Watson

Watson (who’s a former medallist in this event) said pre-race that his return to cross-country would be challenging, and this proved accurate. He unfortunately didn’t finish Saturday’s race.