— Atlantic University Sport (@AUS_SUA) October 27, 2018
Angus Rawling won the AUS cross-country championships on Saturday. His team, the X-men, also won the conference title for the 10th year in a row. Since beginning at St. FX in 2015, Rawling has hugely improved as a runner. In 2016 he finished 68th at the U Sports Championships and by 2017, he lowered his 5,000m personal best from 14:53 to 14:16, and placed 10th at the U Sports Championships to cap-off his breakthrough cross-country season.
Rawling is now a fourth year business student with his eye on the U Sports championship in two weeks. “After U Sports last year I was really excited for my summer. But I went to FISU cross-country and raced quite poorly there. I suffered from some heat exhaustion.” Following FISU, Rawling had a string of rough performances. He describes racing poorly at the Penn Relays in the spring, then again at Ottawa Race Weekend, and eventually he sat down with his coach to make a new plan.
Since Rawling started at St. FX, there has been a changing of the guard in the team’s coaching staff. Long-time cross-country head coach Bernie Chisholm officially retired last year, with three-time Olympian Eric Gillis taking over his position. Gillis is from Antigonish, Nova Scotia and moved back to his hometown to coach.
Rawling said, “I sat down with Eric and we had a chat about what was next, because at that time racing wasn’t going the way that I wanted it to. Coming into the fall 2018 season I knew that I wasn’t going to be as fit as I was at that time last year. But the goal was to slowly make my way back.”
This year Rawling is feeling more ready than ever for the November meet. “I was aiming to be a little heavier when I started the season. That’s allowed me to feel stronger and have more consistent mileage than any other year.”
The runner is looking to better his 10th place position from last year but said he’d be lying if he didn’t have winning on his mind. “First team All-Canadian is my number one goal, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to put my name in there for a chance to win it. A bad day could put me 20th, but a good day I could win.”
As far as his team goes, they’re a younger group. “We’ve got a really young team. Only three of us have ever run at U Sports before, so I’m hoping that we can grab a top 10 finish. Everybody is ready to tackle U Sports as best as they can physically and mentally. I’m excited to see what we can do.”