Saturday was the day of the underdog at the U Sports cross-country championships. The women’s race was won by favourite Brogan MacDougall, who took the race out hard and fast despite extremely strong winds, but the team title went to the Laval Rouge et Or.
This team of Laval women became the first in their programme’s history to win a cross-country national title, and the first team from RSEQ to win a national title at the university collegiate level. The women described the win post-race as, “like a dream.”
— Rouge et Or (@rougeetor) November 10, 2018
The Queen’s women finished second and Guelph finished third. The Queen’s women were the favourite to win in 2017 and were upset by the University of Toronto, and they were the favourite heading into Saturday’s race as well, but were upset by Laval.
Second place individually went to Aurelie Dube-Lavoie and third place to Catherine Beauchemin, both of Laval.
Connor Black was the 2018 men’s winner. Black was second in 2017 and nearly missed the 2018 championship due to an issue with his cuboid bone. Black said post-race that he suffered from some foot issues this fall that culminated in a cuboid injury which sidelined him from OUA’s two weeks ago.
But Black came back stronger than ever. He raced smart, remaining in the pack to cut the 70 km/h winds that blew along the course, and finished strong. Black said post-race, “This has been five years in the making. I can’t believe it.”
Second place went to Jean-Simon Desgagnes of Laval. He was just metres behind Black but couldn’t quite catch him. Third place went to Russell Pennock of Calgary. Pennock was elated post-race as his team won the men’s title. “Everyone had their best day possible. It pays to be the underdog.”
The men’s team title was largely predicted to be a contest between Guelph and McMaster, but with the exception of Black, Guelph didn’t have their best day, and McMaster’s Max Turek suffered an injury last week which inhibited his performance on Saturday.
Guelph ended up second and McMaster was third. Despite coming short of first place, McMaster was thrilled with their third place finish. The Mac men finally broke their fourth place finish streak and walked proudly up to the podium chanting, “We’re not fourth, we’re not fourth.” The team had finished fourth at the national championship for the past six years.
For complete results see here.