After weeks of injuries, the majority of the roster laced up their spikes and crossed the finish line in the QSSF/AUS Interlock meet in Montreal, where they proved their worth against some of the top teams in the country with the help of some debut performances.
Connor Darlington, a Canada Summer Games 5000m champion, came in fifth place overall, and Reid, an elite triathlete, came ninth overall to pave the path for the Mac men’s team.
Their top ten finishes helped in securing the team to a third-place finish overall, with other key performers crossing the finish line quickly and promptly to lower the Marauders score.
Captain Blair Morgan was next to cross the line, finishing in 10th place, while Taylor Forbes finished in 20th. Gabe Ghiglione was no more than a couple seconds behind Forbes, and finished in 22nd. Luke Charbonneau finished in 31st place, and rounding out the score for the Maroon and Grey was Jeramie Lai in 35th place.
With both Darlington and Reid racing, there was a difference for the men’s team that will only prove to do better when they have Lionel Sanders in the line-up.
“For this race, Taylor Reid was the biggest difference, as Lionel was out but Connor was in. Come OUAs, obviously Lionel will be a huge difference maker as he should be our top man,” said Morgan.
With Sanders as the top man, if Darlington, Morgan and Forbes race to their potential, the Marauders will vie for a spot on the podium at the OUA Championships, with the Guelph Gryphons, Queen’s Gaels and Windsor Lancers being their main competition within the province.
If Sanders raced at the Montreal meet, and ran the same way he did in Guelph, the team may have beaten the Gaels for second place.
Even without Sanders, the team proved that they have the potential to be a top team not just within the province, but also within the entire country.
“It definitely paid off on both a personal and team level, as it was my best race of the season, and I believe it was the teams as well,” said Morgan on the team’s performance.
On the women’s side, the team finished in third place overall just as the men’s team did. In this race, Maddy McDonald and Courtney Patterson were finally on the start line together, and they crossed the finish line not too far from each other as well.
McDonald had the best showing for the Maroon and Grey, finishing third overall, not too far behind former teammate and Queen’s grad student Victoria Coates who finished second overall.
Patterson finished 11th overall, exactly one minute behind McDonald on the 6 km course.
Crossing the line third for the Marauders was rookie Emily Nowak, who finished 25th overall, and not too far behind her was fourth year Megan Beverley, who has returned to the team after a two and a half year hiatus from competitive running. She finished 27th overall.
In 30th spot was Raquel Burgess. Rounding out the score for the Marauders was captain Chelsea Mackinnon in her debut performance who finished 36th overall, and rookie Phoebe Cseresnyes, who also officially debuted, finishing 41st overall.
When it comes to Mackinnon and Cseresnyes, they are two runners that are coming off of injuries. When they are at their best, and when they reach their potential, they are a force to be reckoned with and can challenge any runner in the top 20 at the OUA Championships.
This is promising for the team heading into the OUA Championships, as they will be duking it out with the Guelph Gryphons, Queen’s Gaels, Western Mustangs and Toronto Varsity Blues for a spot on the podium.
The Marauders will look to prepare themselves for the OUA Championships that take place here in Hamilton at the Chedoke Golf Course on Oct. 26, and the Marauders will be racing to their full potential at the competitive meet. They will get a two-week chance to fine-tune their running before hitting the start-line however, which is something that Morgan and the team are looking forward to.
“I think we will doing some harder stuff this week, and taking it comparatively easy starting next weekend. Hopefully we will be running at our best on the 26th, but as [Coach Sneyd] likes to say, OUAs are the 30% midterm and the CIS Championship is the 70% final, so the final goal is to be running our best in four weeks,”
The Marauders will look to ace the midterm on Oct. 26, before taking on the final challenge on Nov. 9.