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Men’s U Sports cross country conference championships power rankings

Our final rankings and predictions ahead of U Sports conference championship weekend

U Sports XC rankings Photo by: Maggie Veitch, McMaster Athletics

It’s officially “banner” season for Canadian U Sports cross-country, as the top teams across the country begin their bid for a ticket to the 2023 U Sports Championships on Nov. 12, in London, Ont. 

Here’s an update on our Canadian Running men’s XC team power rankings based on the regular season. Additionally, we’ve highlighted a couple of athletes to watch in their respective conferences, and, of course, everyone’s favourite–predictions!

2022 McMaster Bayfront Open. Photo: Zachary Sikka

10. St. Francis Xavier X-Men (AUS) -2

9. Alberta Golden Bears (CanWest) *new*

8. Victoria Vikes (CanWest) *new*

Vikes Invitational
Photo: UVic Vikes/APShutter.com

7. UNB Reds (AUS) -2

6. Guelph Gryphons (OUA) -2

5. Sherbrooke Vert-et-Or (RSEQ) *new*

4. Western Mustangs (OUA) +4

Western University
Photo: Maxine Gravina

3. UBC Thunderbirds (CanWest) +/-

2. Queen’s Gaels (OUA) +/-

1. Laval University (RSEQ) +/-

For the third straight ranking, Laval has retained the top spot in the country. Their top four men, consisting of studs Philippe Morneau-Cartier and Jean-Simon Desgagnés, have been unbeatable this season, securing a commanding win at the AUS/RSEQ Interlock meet and placing four of their athletes in the top five. Laval should handily secure their conference title, but the true test of their depth will come at the 2023 U Sports Championships, where they will face Queen’s and UBC for the first time this season.

Laval XC
The 2023 Laval Rouge-et-Or men’s XC. Photo: Felix Lapointe (@CoachLapointe)/Twitter

It has been a dream year for the #2 ranked Queen’s Gaels, who will head into the OUA Championships on Oct. 28 as the favourites. The quartet of Jude Wheeler-Dee, Roman Mironov, Miles Brackenbury and Will Cox have the Gaels entering November as one of the two teams with the potential to beat Laval in London. The other team with that dog in them is the UBC Thunderbirds, who have been dominant in the CanWest conference and runners-up to Queen’s at the Western Invite earlier in the season. Andrew Davies of UBC aims to win his second consecutive U Sports team title after his victory with the McMaster Marauders last year.

The Guelph Gryphons have dropped two spots in our rankings, after finishing third behind Western and Queen’s at the Marauder Bayfront Open. Although they were missing their top runner, Nick Bannon, the Gryphons, who have been a dominant force in Canadian university XC for the past 15 years, face an uphill battle for a top-five finish at U Sports.

Guelph Nick Bannon
Nick Bannon of Guelph at the 2021 Marauder Bayfront Open. Photo: Kevin MacKinnon

A team that has quietly climbed our rankings is the Sherbrooke Vert-et-Or. Sherbrooke has finished second to Laval twice this season and boasts a breakout star in U Sports rookie of the year candidate Xavier Lemaitre. In his first year at Sherbrooke, Lemaitre has emerged as a top-five contender in the RSEQ conference and helped the Vert-et-Or secure a second-place finish at the RSEQ/AUS Interlock meet.

U Sports individual title contenders

Jean-Simon Desgagnés (Laval Rouge-et-Or)
Phillipe Morneau-Cartier (Laval Rouge-et-Or)
Jared Howse (UNB Reds)
Max Davies (Guelph Gryphons)
Thomas Laviolette (Montreal Carabins)
Andrew Davies (UBC Thunderbirds)
Jude Wheeler-Dee (Queen’s Gaels)
Nicholas Bannon (Guelph Gryphons)

Conference predictions

OUA

Team title: (#2) Queen’s Gaels
Individual title: Jude-Wheeler Dee (Queen’s)

CanWest

Team title: (#3) UBC Thunderbirds
Individual title: Andrew Davies (UBC)

RSEQ

Team title: (#1) Laval Rouge-et-Or 
Individual title: Philippe Morneau-Cartier (Laval)

AUS

Team title: (#10) St Francis Xavier X-Men 
Individual title: Jared Howse (UNB Reds)

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