The Calgary Dinos were not expected to win the 2018 U Sports championships. The Dinos were considered a strong team, and cross-country veteran Russell Pennock was expected to perform well, but few expected a win. 

Photo: Maxine Gravina. Calgary men, 2018 U Sports XC champs.

Saturday’s men’s race was billed as a contest between the Guelph Gryphons and McMaster Marauders. The teams ended up second and third, only five points separating them, but Calgary came out on top. 

Calgary was second in 2017, but lost one of their top runners, Alex James to an injury. On top of losing James on their roster, the Dinos coach Doug Lamont suffered a stroke earlier this fall. Lamont received treatment quickly and only suffered minor deficits. 

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Lamont’s wife drove him to practice for the month following his accident. The team made him a card before the race, and wanted to get the win for him. Lamont was named the U Sports men’s coach of the year following the race. 

Lamont has been coaching for years. He began volunteer coaching in 1983, and has been full-time with the team since 1999. Yesterday was the men’s first championship win. The team is only graduating two of their athletes, so this relatively young squad should be strong heading into 2019. 

It takes a lot to get a team of runners in sync on race day, especially in cross-country, a particularly unpredictable discipline of running. Between the difficult conditions and variability of the course, managing to get five runners to have their best possible day at the same time is a big ask. But Calgary pulled it off. Pennock said post-race that it paid to be the underdog. “Everyone had their perfect race. This is like a dream.”

Dinos score breakdown 

75 points total:

  1. Russell Pennock – 3rd 
  2. Eric Lutz – 9th
  3. Stefan Daniel – 10th
  4. Ryan Grieco – 21st
  5. Tyler Kiyonaga – 32nd

 

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