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University of British Columbia soars to double gold at 2023 U Sports XC Championships

For the first time in school history, the UBC Thunderbirds won both the men's and women's university national titles

U Sports XC 2023 Photo by: Marley Dickinson

Sunday was a day to remember for the University of British Columbia (UBC) Thunderbirds at the 2023 U Sports XC Championship in London, Ont. The Thunderbirds won both the men’s and women’s team titles for the first time in school history.

Sunday’s win came from several years of progression for their cross-country program. Last year, the women finished as runners-up to Laval, and the men were just off the podium in fourth, awaiting a breakthrough.

Women’s 8K

Whether the UBC women would win the women’s XC title in 2023 was never in question, as they were the top-ranked team in the country all season. The women’s 8K got off to a slower start, but UBC, Western Mustangs and the StFX X-Women established themselves at the front at the end of the first of two laps. With around two kilometres to go, Canada West champion UBC’s Katie Newlove put on a surge and never looked back, winning the 8K race in 29:06, 12 seconds ahead of Laval’s Catherine Beauchemin (29:18). Erika Jordan came in for bronze in 29:24 to put the host Western Mustangs on the podium.

U Sports XC 2023
The women’s podium at the 2023 U Sports XC Championships: Catherine Beauchemin, Katie Newlove and Erika Jordan. Photo: Marley Dickinson

UBC placed five women in the top 15 to win their first women’s U Sports XC title in school history, led by Newlove. “It’s super empowering to be surrounded by and train with so many great women,” says 2023 champion Newlove. “We’ve been trying to achieve this for the past two years. To make school history and have it all come together today is very exciting.”

This is also the second consecutive year a UBC athlete has won the women’s individual title. Former Thunderbird Glynis Sim won the race in 2022.

Women’s results

1. UBC Thunderbirds (CanWest) 38
2. Western Mustangs (OUA) 71
3. St Francis Xavier X Women (AUS) 95
4. Guelph Gryphons (OUA) 161
5. McMaster Marauders (OUA) 175

1. Katie Newlove (UBC Thunderbirds) 29:06
2. Catherine Beauchemin (Laval Rouge et Or) 29:18
3. Erika Jordan (Western Mustangs) 29:24
4. Jennifer Erickson (UBC Thunderbirds) 29:27
5. Kaitlyn Harrison (Saskatchewan Huskies) 29:28

Men’s 8K

The weather was an unseasonably warm 12 C at the start of the men’s 8K, with no clear-cut favourite to win the men’s team title. Laval Rouge et Or and UBC Thunderbirds held top positions in our U Sports rankings throughout the season, but uncertainties lingered about their performance against stronger competition. The men set a fast pace from the beginning, with UBC’s Andrew Davies using his 5,000m track speed to lead out a small pack. Davies and Laval’s Philippe Morneau-Cartier were the two leaders at the end of the first lap. In the final two kilometres, Morneau-Cartier pulled ahead of Davies, upgrading his 2022 silver individual medal to gold and winning the men’s 8K in 24:17.

This marked Morneau Cartier’s fourth win of the season in four races. His Laval teammate and training partner, Jean-Simon Desgagnés, passed Davies in the final kilometre to secure silver in 24:20, in his final U Sports race. Davies held on for bronze in 24:24, finishing as UBC’s top male runner.

Initially, it seemed Laval would win their second men’s XC title in the last three years, but a late surge from the UBC men placed three of their runners in the top 10, securing their first men’s U Sports XC title since 1993, edging out Laval by eight points.

UBC’s top finisher, Davies, who won with McMaster last year, called the team win expected. “I knew if we could put everything together on the big day, we could pull it off,” said Davies. “This was the final U Sports XC race for three of our top five scorers. I am super proud of this team.”

Laval U Sports XC 2023
2023 U Sports XC men’s silver medallists Laval Rouge et Or. Photo: Marley Dickinson

Men’s results

1. UBC Thunderbirds (CanWest) 52
2. Laval Rouge et Or (RSEQ) 60
3. Queen’s Gaels (OUA) 90
4. Guelph Gryphons (OUA) 97
5. Victoria Vikes (CanWest) 177

1. Philippe Morneau-Cartier (Laval Rouge et Or) 24:17
2. Jean-Simon Desgagnés (Laval Rouge et Or) 24:20
3. Andrew Davies (UBC Thunderbirds) 24:24
4. Jacob Benoit (Dalhousie Tigers) 24:42
5. John Perrier (UBC Thunderbirds) 24:44

For full results from the 2023 U Sports XC Championships, head here

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