Trent University, located in Peterborough, Ontario, has cut their cross country team. The university had seven varsity sports, including cross country, and is now down to six. This change comes as a shock to members of the team and will limit their future with regard to both competition and training. The Trent University team competes in the OUA (Ontario University Athletics) division. Their competitive season culminates with the OUA Championships where teams from across Ontario compete for the provincial title. Trent has competed at this championship for the past 40 years, and without the financial support of their university will likely have to forfeit this race.
Unfortunately, what’s happening at Trent is representative of a greater trend in Canadian university athletics. The track team at the University of Western Ontario, one of the wealthiest Canadian universities, still trains on a make-shift surface around a hockey rink. The poor facilities they train in have made for injury prone athletes and a difficult recruiting process. Recruiting is vital to a program’s success and also to building excellence in Canadian running. Without adequate incentive to stay in Canada many top athletes see American schools as a more viable option.
Cross country has produced some of the country’s best distance athletes. The likes of Reid Coolsaet and Lanni Marchant got their start in cross country which translated to exceptional professional careers on the road. Cross country running is the starting point for many young athletes and an important aspect of developing distance runners.
If you are interested in helping out the Trent University cross country team, please contact Sean Ibbott at firstname.lastname@example.org.