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Mac cross country finishes strong at CIS championships

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The Marauder cross country team ran to the best of their potential at the CIS championships at the Thames Valley Golf Course in London, Ont. – a course that they are very familiar with, from last year’s CIS Championships.

The women’s team finished in 6th place overall, while the men’s team finished 4th overall, which was their best finish at the championships since 2000.

The men’s team managed to pull off an incredible performance and finish despite missing one of the best runners on the team—Connor Darlington.

“He came down with a lower-body injury. The day before the meet he indicated that he was 95 per cent sure that this wasn’t going to be something he could run through. He’s a big time team player and we know it hurt him to have to admit this. Hopefully he is back healthy soon and ready to do some damage in the indoor cheapest generic cialis season,” said coach Rory Sneyd on the situation.

This ended up not being an issue for the team, however, as several runners stepped up in the high-pressured situation to have strong finishes overall.

The most impressive of these performances included Lionel Sanders, who finished in tenth place overall, and captain Blair Morgan, who finished in 11th place overall, which was a huge improvement from last year’s CIS championships, where he finished 46th overall

“Blair proved that his OUA performance was no fluke,” said Sneyd.

The third runner in for the Marauders was Gabe Ghiglione in 20th place – which was also an incredible performance on his part, as he finished in 44th place at the OUA championships two weeks before.

“Gabe was a game-changer having been 44th at the OUA meet, and then 20th at CIS meet – that just isn’t done. Had he been our 4th or 5th man, our men are on that podium. He’s a special athlete and I look forward to seeing his progress in coming years,” added Sneyd.

Rounding out the score for the Marauders was Taylor Forbes in 36th place, while his brother Austen Forbes finished in 37th.

Although the men’s team missed making it to the podium this round, the future of the team is looking promising, with several runners returning next year, and other top high school recruits expressing their interest in McMaster for next year.

“All five of our scorers return, plus Connor, and guys like Nick Kondrat, Paul Rochus, Jeramie Lai, Luke Charbonneu, and Nick Belore. We have at least three of the top ten senior boys from OFSAA sincerely interested in McMaster. The men are going to be podium contenders for years to come,” said Sneyd.

As for the women’s team, Sneyd is proud of their 6th place accomplishment, and feels as though they are proud also and have reached their goal of the season, especially after facing some major challenges and setbacks throughout the season.

“Going into the meet, we talked about beating some teams that we had previously faced and thought we could beat – Windsor, Dalhousie, and McGill. We knew that the teams from out west were big question marks so we did not set our sights on Trinity Western or Victoria because we were not sure how good they might be. We felt the top four OUA schools would be tough to beat. It ended up that Trinity Western ran well and our women were able to beat Victoria. The women talked about being proud of their team effort and I think they achieved their goal,” said Sneyd.

The women’s team will be losing their oldest member, Courtney Patterson, for next season, which Sneyd believes is a loss for the team, but nothing that will set them back from winning a medal.

“She contributed to five OUA team medals and four CIS team medals. We knew we could count on Courtney and she is definitely a big loss for the program.”

But Sneyd knows that the women’s program will only improve from here, as the goal is to get on the CIS podium once again.

“We expect to get some quality recruits and the goal for next year is to be back on the OUA and CIS podiums,” said Sneyd.

As for the people that stood out in the race on the women’s team, Sneyd credits grad student Kierstin Myers, and leader Maddy McDonald for their outstanding performances.

“Kierstin Myers stands out. To be so close to Courtney was quite impressive. Maddy McDonald also ran great. She ran conservatively and was less than ten seconds off being an all-Canadian again. It was a trying season for her, both physically and emotionally, and she performed admirably despite these tribulations,” added Sneyd.

The team will now take a much-needed break before getting into training again for the track season, which gets underway in January.

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Author: Laura Sinclair

Laura is the Sil's senior sports editor.