Marauders track prepares for season ahead

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After a disappointing end to their cross country season, the Marauders track team is back and more motivated than ever to prove themselves on the track.

Last summer, several Marauders on both the men’s and women’s side were able to get huge personal best times in their respective distance, so the expectations heading into this indoor season are very high.

While some athletes did not perform to their potential at the Can Am Invitational meet last weekend, a couple of the more consistent runners on the team were phenomenal, running to personal best times in their very first meet of the season.

Luke Charbonneau proved himself in the 1000 m race, finishing third overall with a personal best time of 2:30.

“Charbonneau was a guy who was in 6th on the team at the start of the cross country season, and then he ends up being our best guy at CIS, had the race of his life, and now he’s come back and he’s kept the momentum going and he’s leading the charge indoors,” said head coach Paula Schnurr, whose 30 year-old meet record in the 1000 m was broken over the weekend.

Charbonneau’s main focus for the season will be over 1500 m.

Taylor Forbes was also a standout performer at the meet, finishing 7th overall in a pacey 1500 m race with a personal best time of 3:54.

Although Forbes has proven himself on the indoor track last season, his main focus is on his summer triathlon season, where he will be looking to top last year’s season that saw him qualify for the World Championships.

He will be focusing on the 3000 m for the season and will only be competing at OUA’s.

Blair Morgan also had an exceptional race, running away from the pack with 800 m to go in the 1500 m, which had him named the McMaster “kick-of-the-week” award recipient. He ran to a personal best time of 3:58, which is extremely fast—especially for the first meet of the season, but Morgan was not satisfied.

“There was definitely some left afterwards. I talked to Schnurr about doing a tempo run after but she decided the race was enough,” said Morgan.

Morgan’s main focus for the season will be qualifying for CI’s in the 3000 m.

Coach Schnurr credits Charbonneau, Forbes and Morgan’s success to their consistency and good decisions when it comes to training, their ability to stay healthy and their overall confidence.

“They just got out there and weren’t afraid…it didn’t matter if it was the first race of the season, they just got out and raced, and that’s what made the difference for them,” said Schnurr.

Some other notable performers on the men’s side that Schnurr is looking forward to seeing in full form this season include: Jeff Tweedle, Brandon Huzevka and rookie Matt Napier.

Tweedle has a lot of momentum coming into this track season, after having a breakthrough season last year that saw him run to a huge personal best time of 2:27 in the 1000 m.

“He’s really fit, so he’s coming in with some high expectations and it will be exciting to see how things work out,” said Schnurr.

Huzevka also had a standout season last year, and is looking to improve even more in his final year as a Marauder.

“His goal is to make [nationals], and that’s going to be really challenging for him, but I love watching him race, because he really competes and that’s exciting to watch,” said Schnurr.

Napier is a rookie that mainly focuses on indoor track, and Schnurr is excited for his first season as a Marauder due to his personal best times under his belt.

On the women’s side, although there were some disappointments, the team is looking forward to bouncing back this weekend at the Don Wright invitational, and for the rest of the season.

Maddy McDonald is looking to get back to where she was last season, when she ran to an indoor personal best time of 9:34 in the 3000 m, which qualified her for the CIS championships.

Chelsea Mackinnon is in her last season as a Marauder, and is looking to qualify for the CIS championships in the 1000 m after having a stellar indoor season last year that saw her run to a personal best time of 2:51 over the distance.

What coach Schnurr is most looking forward to however is the inter-team competition, and seeing the team strive to be among the top three in each distance—as the top three runners on the team for each race get to compete at the OUA championships.

“There’s really no given with who is going to be the top 3 at [the OUA championship]. There’s so many that are very close and they know they’re going to have to compete with their teammates to get a spot on the OUA team so that’s kind of fun to watch,” said Schnurr.

The majority of the team will be competing at the Don Wright Invitational at Western university on Jan. 17, where they will hope to prove themselves before the largest meet in the province—the McGill Invitational in Montreal.

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Author: Laura Sinclair

Laura is the Sil's senior sports editor.