The Marauders cross country team gave it all they got at the OUA Championships in King City on October 27 with amazing performances that contributed to the men’s and women’s overall team place and score. The women’s team finished 2nd overall for the fourth year in a row, despite missing CIS 3000 m champion Lindsay Carson, and the men’s team finished 4th overall despite missing stand out rookie Connor Darlington. These team places were incredible and well-earned for the Marauders squad that had to work extremely hard in horrible conditions.

Despite the torrential downpour, the cold winds and the muddy hills, the performances of the Marauders were unaffected, as the women’s team finished with 50 points having 6 runners in the top 20, and the men’s team finished with 118 points having 6 runners in the top 50. The women’s Captain, Steph MacNeill compared the uncomfortable weather conditions to last year’s CIS Championship meet. “It was a little unnerving at first because of the disaster that last years’ CIS championships turned out to be for the girls team” The 2011 CIS Championships fell on a cold and snowy day in Quebec, which affected the performance of the women’s team who finished 3rd overall, despite finishing 2nd in years previous. “But at the end of the day, everyone had a great race and this gives us confidence that we can run in bad conditions and last year was just a fluke.”

Although the weather conditions on Saturday might have not been ideal, for MacNeill, her team still had an edge on the competition. “There were lots of hills on the course, which I think played to our teams’ advantage as we have lots of great trails with hills to run on in Hamilton.” On the girls side, Victoria Coates finished 2nd overall, Madeleine McDonald finished 7th, Courtney Patterson was 11th, Steph MacNeill was 14th, Jill Wyman was 16th, Chelsea Mackinnon was 19th and Pauline Skowron was 37th.

On the men’s side, there were a number of great performances from veterans and rookies that stepped it up to contribute to the second best OUA team finish in Marauder men’s cross country history.  Taylor Reid was the first Marauder to cross the line in 7th, and for Head Coach Rory Sneyd, it was a huge accomplishment for the veteran. “We thought he could be top 14 but top 7 was a big surprise.” Reid worked his way up in the 10 km race, getting himself to the lead pack, which was his best performance as a Marauder yet. “Taylor had not previously been in the top 20 at OUA’s” said Coach Sneyd. Not too far behind Reid was Lionel Sanders in 9th, Austen Forbes in 29th, Blair Morgan in 36th, Taylor Forbes in 37th, Ryan Tice in 46th, and Jeremy Walsh in 70th.

After the incredible finishes and performances from both of teams at the OUA Championships, Coach Rory Sneyd’s goals for the CIS Championships are “to get our best athletes to the start line healthy and fresh, and to have the majority of the athletes run the best race of their season. We think that both teams will place very well if this is the case.”

The next challenge for the Marauders will be CIS Championships in London Ontario on November 10, where both the men’s and women’s team will fight to be one of the top teams in the country.

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