Last weekend were the OUA, RSEQ, Can West and AUS championships. At all four events, teams showed their cards and duked it out in hopes of conference glory. As with all races, some aspects went to plan but there were also several major upsets. (This is why you don’t call a race until it’s over, folks.)
Ahead of this weekend, fans might have said that the national team titles were relatively predictable, with Calgary sure to take the men’s title and Queen’s the women’s. However, after conference championships there’s less certainty. On the women’s side, McGill has a historically strong team–so strong that they upset the 2018 women’s U Sports champions, Laval.
On the men’s side, Guelph (as they usually do) produced a stronger-than-anticipated championship team that beat McMaster (who have had a great season thus far) on their home course. Here’s everything that went down on the Canadian collegiate cross-country courses this weekend. (How’s that for a little alliteration?)
It was a Dalhousie team sweep in the AUS. Jade Roberts of Memorial took the women’s win. She was followed by Jane Hergett of St. FX and Catherine Thompson of Dalhousie.
On the men’s side, Andre Peverill of St. Mary’s handily won the men’s race, finishing over 20 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Paul MacLellan of St. FX. Third place went to Jacob Benoit of St. FX.
In Quebec, the men’s race went relatively to plan, but the Laval women were upset by McGill. Laval were the 2018 U Sports champions and they haven’t lost many of their runners, but despite this, the McGill ladies took their first league banner in three years. Elodie DeCoene of the Université de Montréal took the win, with Elizabeth Hirsch of McGill in second and Aurelie Dubé-Lavoie of Laval in third.
Jean-Simon Desgagnes of Laval took the title in the 10K, finishing well ahead of the rest of the field in 31:32. Second place went to Jonathan Tedeschi, also of Laval, and third place to Thomas Windish of Sherbrooke. The team title was easily won by Laval.
The OUA proved that you can never, ever, count out the Guelph men’s team. McMaster had consistently out-performed them during the pre-season, and the race was on Mac’s home course, but Guelph still took the men’s title, with 40 points to McMaster’s 48.
It was far from a landslide, and on a different day McMaster could make a comeback, but Saturday was Guelph’s moment, with fourth-year runner Mitch Ubene winning the individual title. Second place went to Western’s Isaiah Frielink and third place to veteran Guelph Gryphon runner Mark Patton.
On the women’s side, Lucia Stafford won her first cross-country race of the season. It was a three-way race between Stafford and the MacDougall sisters from the gun. All three women ran together until a gap formed with about 3K to go: Branna took the lead, Lucia followed and Brogan sat in third. With about 1K left, Branna and Stafford started running away, with Stafford having the stronger finish to take her first OUA win.
Despite finishing second and third, the MacDougall sisters still helped their strong Queen’s squad to a first-place finish, with the Guelph women following in second and Toronto in third.
On the west coast, as predicted, Calgary handily took the men’s title, finishing 1-2-4-6-12. Stefan Daniel was the winner, closely followed by Russell Pennock, and third place went to UBC’s Kieran Lumb, who prevented the Calgary men from sweeping the podium.
In the women’s race, Nicola Symmonds of UBC out-leaned Saskatchewan’s Courtney Hufsmith. Both women crossed the line in 30:36. Third place went to Joanna Williams of Trinity Western. The UBC women took the team title.