Ontario University Athletics crowned two new cross-country champions over the weekend at the OUA Championship meet in London, Ont. Andrew Davies of McMaster announced himself on the U Sports circuit in his second race back, winning and equaling the 8 km course record at Thames Valley in 24:41. Kiana Gibson of Guelph University followed up her second-place finish a month ago on this course with a win, as she broke away from the women’s lead pack over the last kilometre in the 8 km race.
Gibson’s victory helped the Guelph Gryphons women’s team win the OUA title with a low 19 points. Guelph had four runners finish inside the top five to win by 41 points over second-place Western Mustangs. Olivia Roussel of Guelph had a massive run to finish second behind her teammate in 29:47. Erin Mawhinney of McMaster, who pushed the pace at the front for a majority of the race, finished third in 29:49. The Guelph women’s team stepped things up when it counted and will be a team to watch at the U Sports XC Championships on Nov. 20 in Quebec City.
From the start of the race, spectators knew that OUA team gold would be a battle between the Guelph and McMaster men. Both teams’ top runners asserted themselves in the lead pack in the early stages of the race. The team championship came down to a sprint finish between the two teams. A one-second difference led the Guelph Gryphons men’s team to its 14th championship in 16 years, edging out McMaster by two points.
Racing their way to individual victories, @guelph_gryphons Kiana Gibson (🏃♀️) and @McMasterSports Andrew Davies (🏃♂️) top their respective fields at the 2021 #OUA Cross Country Championships!#WeAreONE | #BannerSeason pic.twitter.com/R5H0x3y7F6
— Ontario University Athletics (@OUAsport) November 6, 2021
Davies was the top-finisher, tying Corey Bellemore’s 2016 championship record of 24:41. “I visualized the race beforehand and was motivated to celebrate down the home stretch,” said Davies in a post-race interview. “The energy of the crowd at the finish line was amazing.”
The 2019 OUA champion Mitch Ubene of Guelph was second in 24:48, and McMaster’s Max Turek was third (24:57). McMaster had three athletes in the top five to finish as the second team. “We knew it was going to be close between us and Guelph after the Bayfront meet, but we are confident we can hopefully turn the tables in a couple of weeks,” says Davies. The Western Mustangs finished third behind Guelph and McMaster with 100 points.
The 2021 U Sports Cross-Country Championship will be held on Saturday, Nov. 20. on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. You can follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all U Sports championship content.