To begin the 2012 Cross Country campaign, the McMaster Marauders headed to the Western Invitational meet in London, Ont.
Both the men’s and women’s teams produced strong showings at the first race: the men placed fifth overall and the women finished first to get their first win of the OUA season.
The ladies’ win was a team effort led by Lindsay Carson, who captured a silver medal in her 5K race.
Carson, former CIS champion in the 3000m, suffered an injury during last year’s cross country season, and the second-place finish early on in the season is a positive sign for a staple member of the women’s squad.
Being narrowly ousted out of a medal spot, Victoria Coates finished fourth overall, but her effort did not go unnoticed.
“The coaching staff was very impressed with Victoria. She surpassed our expectations of her at the Western run,” said Coach Rory Sneyd after the race.
Courtney Patterson also finished in the top ten, finishing ninth to aid the Marauders in their victory.
Patterson suffered an injury over the summer that sidelined her for a month, but the Western result erased any doubt in her abilities for this season.
The men’s team fifth-place finish was a positive for the team, as the team was missing key members from the event.
The top finisher from the men was Lionel Sanders who finished fifth in his 8K race.
This weekend, McMaster will be travelling to Chicago to run at the Loyola Lakefront Invitational.
The road trip will be a showcase for young Mac cross country athletes as rookies Connor Darlington and Madeleine McDonald will make their Maroon debuts.
Both teams are nationally ranked squads in the CIS, with the women ranked second in the nation and the men ranked seventh overall.
The team will be withholding some of their best runners from the Chicago race in order to ensure they field the best squad possible for the OUA Championships at the end of October.