Senior Sports Editor
The McMaster cross country team took to the trails at the Vic Matthews Open in Guelph this weekend to compete at the largest university cross country meet in Canada.
The men’s team was able to pull off outstanding performances in the 10 kilometer race, while in the absence of three of their best four runners in and still managed to place an impressive third amongst CIS teams.
Lionel Sanders made a statement in his first race of the season, finishing sixth out of a field of 135, with a time of 31:44.
Teammate Taylor Forbes finished in 17th place in his season debut, with a time of 32:22, which marks an outstanding improvement and a great first race of the season for the veteran triathlete
“This year I am approaching my races differently by not allowing myself much rest before I hit the line” said the multi-sport athlete.
Forbes made sure that he ran a tactical race, preserving energy in the first five km, and going hard in the last stretch of the long and tiring race
“I did what I set out to do … I went out conservative and started out well back in the mix. Then [I was] able to make my way up to 17th position by the end,” said Forbes.
For his first race of the season, Forbes was proud to have finished within the top 20, against a very competitive field, and working through the pain to have a strong performance overall.
“I think the race went as well as it could have considering it being my debut race. It hurt like hell that last mile but that is what I expected in a 10k” added Forbes.
Not too far behind Forbes was men’s cross country captain Blair Morgan, who finished in 22nd place with a time of 32:49.
Rookie Paul Rochus ran to a time of 33:04 and finished in 32nd place overall, and finishing close behind him was veteran Gabe Ghiglione, who finished in 36th place with a time of 33:19.
Rounding out the score for the Marauders was Eric Barry in 45th place and rookie Ivan Meizinger in 54th.
When asked about the potential for a CIS medal, Forbes states he does not want to underestimate the power of the other teams.
“We try to tread lightly when it comes to thinking about a CIS medal. The way my teammates and I look at it is that we will never know for certain the potential our team has until Nov. 9, at the Thames Valley Golf Course, and not until then will we make any hard claims” said Forbes.
On the women’s side, the Marauders finished sixth, without two notable big scorers- Courtney Patterson and women’s cross country captain Chelsea Mackinnon.
This year, the course was modified for the first time ever to accommodate the new CIS 6-km distance, a step up from the 5-km distance in previous years.
Maddy McDonald led the charge up front for the Marauders, finishing in tenth place out of 153 runners, with a time of 20:53.
Crossing the line second for the maroon and grey was grad student Kierstin Myers, who finished in 36th place with a time of 22:34.
Not too far behind Myers was rookie Emily Nowak, who finished the course with a time of 22:38.
Raquel Burgess completed the 6-km in a time of 23:02, which was good enough for 53rd place overall, and exchange student Charlotte Ward finished with a time of 23:10, which brought her to 58th place.
Rounding out the top seven runners on the team was Maddie Benjamin, who placed 61st overall, and rookie Adrienne Morgan, who placed 70th.
The Marauders cross country team will look to keep up the momentum for their next race this weekend which will be a split race in Waterloo and at the Mustang Open in London.