Claire Sumner overtakes Queen’s teammate late to win CIS cross-country title

Claire Sumner overtook Queen's teammate Julie-Anne Staehli in the late stages to win the Canadian University Cross-Country Championships. (Photo: Mathieu Belanger.)

CIS Cross-Country
CIS Cross-Country
Photo: Mathieu Belanger.

Queen’s University athlete Claire Sumner added the national championship to her 2016 provincial title as she won the Canadian university cross-country championships on Saturday. Sumner, the OUA champion and based in Kingston, Ont., passed teammate and 2013 CIS/U Sports champion Julie-Anne Staehli in the final kilometre to take the women’s 6K event in 21:08.4.

The University of Guelph won their 12th consecutive Canadian university cross-country women’s title defeating Queen’s by five points scoring 71 total. (Scroll down for video.)

RELATED: Men’s recap: CIS pre-race favourite Yves Sikubwabo delivers with win on home course.

The race was held on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. Canada’s governing body recently rebranded to U Sports from the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) though that will only come into effect in 2017.

Staehli was in control early in the race and increased that gap over the first climb on the Plains of Abraham course. As she continued to push the pace through the first 10 minutes, the lead pack behind her began to separate.

Four women, Claire Sumner, Emma Cook-Clarke, Lisa Brooking and Katelyn Ayers, were in pursuit after the opening lap as Staehli continued to lead by approximately five seconds. Halfway through the race, the Queen’s athlete had as much as a 10-second lead with Sumner, her teammate, moving into second with 1-2K to go.

Shortly after, Sumner, the Ontario university cross-country champion, overtook Staehli for the first time in the race and used that momentum to the finish winning by seven seconds. Calgary’s Emma Cook-Clarke (21:15) finished second followed by University of Guelph’s Katelyn Ayers (21:22).

Staehli finished ninth as she attempted to gap the field early but could not maintain that advantage past the 5K mark. The strategy was reminiscent of Declan White’s gutsy front-running tactics at the 2014 Canadian Cross-Country Championships. The run was her fifth All-Canadian performance of her career, a new Queen’s University record.

UPDATE: Canadian Running has learned that Staehli fell at the finish line and was taken to hospital for further examination. She remembers parts of the race between 5-6K. Queen’s assistant coach Brant Stachel tweeted that she is okay.

Both Cook-Clarke and Sumner represented Canada at the World University (FISU) Cross-Country Championships earlier in 2016. After Saturday’s race Sumner said, “it’s pretty cool, it’s an awesome feeling.” It’s the second time in four years that a Queen’s athlete has won the women’s 6K championships.

Lucia Stafford of Toronto was the top rookie finishing an impressive sixth overall.

Video replay

Yves Sikubwabo

Top-20 results (click for full results)

1 Claire Sumner Queens University 376 F 21:08.4 3:31/K
2 Emma Cook-Clarke University of Calgary 346 F 21:15.0 3:33/K
3 Katelyn Ayers University of Guelph 278 F 21:22.3 3:34/K
4 Lisa Brooking Trinity Western University 204 F 21:22.8 3:34/K
5 Regan Yee Trinity Western University 203 F 21:29.2 3:35/K
6 Lucia Stafford University of Toronto 248 F 21:33.1 3:36/K
7 Kristina Popadich Western University 291 F 21:34.8 3:36/K
8 Stef Smith University of Windsor 130 F 21:46.8 3:38/K
9 Julie-Anne Staehli Queens University 377 F 21:47.4 3:38/K
10 Heather Petrick University of Guelph 282 F 21:47.8 3:38/K
11 Colleen Wilson Dalhousie University 47 F 22:09.1 3:42/K
12 Katherine Lampard Western University 289 F 22:18.3 3:43/K
13 Melanie Myrand McGill University 82 F 22:21.2 3:44/K
14 Melissa Jones University of Calgary 347 F 22:25.8 3:44/K
15 Morgan Lawley University of Alberta 105 F 22:31.1 3:45/K
16 Aurélie Dubé-Lavoie Universite Laval 10 F 22:32.8 3:45/K
17 Hannah Woodhouse University of Guelph 285 F 22:33.7 3:46/K
18 Madeleine Kelly University of Toronto 249 F 22:34.4 3:46/K
19 Amy Stephenson Western University 292 F 22:36.7 3:46/K
20 Beatrice Gigagna Queens University 378 F 22:38.0 3:46/K

CIS/U Sports History

Women’s team champions

2016 Guelph (at Laval)
2015 Guelph (at Guelph)
2014 Guelph (at Memorial)
2013 Guelph (at Western)
2012 Guelph (at Western)
2011 Guelph (at Laval)
2010 Guelph (at Sherbrooke)
2009 Guelph (at Queen’s)
2008 Guelph (at Laval)
2007 Guelph (at Victoria)
2006 Guelph (at Laval)
2005 Guelph (at Dalhousie)
2004 Dalhousie (at Guelph)
2003 Calgary (at Moncton)
2002 Toronto (at Western)
2001 Victoria (at Sherbrooke)
2000 Victoria (at Toronto)
1999 Victoria (at RMC / Queen’s)
1998 Victoria (at Waterloo)
1997 Guelph (at Western)
1996 Waterloo (at McGill)
1995 Windsor (at Western)
1994 Victoria (at Western)
1993 Calgary (at Dalhousie)
1992 Calgary (at McGill)
1991 Toronto (at Victoria)
1990 Western (at Ottawa)
1989 Western (at UBC)
1988 Western (at Laval)
1987 Victoria (at Victoria)
1986 Victoria (at Western)
1985 Victoria (at Sherbrooke)
1984 Western (at Guelph)
1983 Western (at Laurentian)
1982 Western (at Laurentian)
1981 Western (at Lethbridge)
1980 Victoria (at Guelph)

Women’s individual champions

2016 Claire Sumner, Queen’s
2015 Sarah Inglis, Trinity Western
2014 Carise Thompson, Guelph
2013 Julie-Anne Staehli, Queen’s
2012 Andrea Seccafien, Guelph
2011 Geneviève Lalonde, Guelph
2010 Jessica Pearo, McMaster
2009 Megan Brown, Toronto
2008 Megan Brown, Toronto
2007 Lindsay Carson, Guelph
2006 Megan Brown, Toronto
2005 Beth Wightman, Toronto
2004 Kristina Rody, Guelph
2003 Beth Wightman, Queen’s
2002 Sarah Dillabaugh, Ottawa
2001 Beth Wightman, Queen’s
2000 Debbie Buhlers, Waterloo
1999 Teresa Duck, Western
1998 Nathalie Côté, Ottawa
1997 Nathalie Côté, Ottawa
1996 Nathalie Côté, Ottawa
1995 Missy McCleary, Windsor
1994 Linda Thyer, McGill
1993 Lisa Harvey, Calgary
1992 Lisa Harvey, Calgary
1991 Anna Gunasekera, Victoria
1990 Anna Gunasekera, Victoria
1989 Lucy Smith, Dalhousie
1988 Lucy Smith, Dalhousie
1987 Brenda Shackleton, Victoria
1986 Brenda Shackleton, Victoria
1985 Brenda Shackleton, Victoria
1984 Jill Purola, Western
1983 Sylvia Ruegger, Guelph
1982 Nancy Rooks, York
1981 Anne-Marie Malone, Queen’s
1980 Sylvia Ruegger, Guelph