SPARTANS SET TO COMPETE AT CROSS COUNTRY NATIONALS

CROSS COUNTRY
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2012
CIS CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SPARTANS SET TO COMPETE AT CROSS COUNTRY NATIONALS

LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western cross country teams will compete in the CIS national championships this weekend for the third year in a row and after an impressive fall season, both men’s and women’s sides will be looking to make some serious noise when the gun sounds Saturday in London, Ont.

Western University hosts the 2012 CIS championships at the Thames Valley Golf Course. There are 125 athletes from 25 schools set to compete in the women’s five-kilometre race at 9 a.m. PST, while 129 runners from 24 institutions are scheduled to run in the 10-kilometre men’s event at 10 a.m. PST.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS
2011 men’s CIS: 16th
2011 men’s CW: 7th
Last CIS men’s title: N/A
Last CW men’s title: N/A
CIS men’s ranking: N/A
 
2011 women’s CIS: 17th
2011 women’s CW: 7th
Last CIS women’s title: N/A
Last CW women’s title: N/A
CIS women’s ranking: N/A
 
Key additions: Levi Neufeld, Joel De Schiffart
 
Key returnees: Fiona Benson, Blair Johnston, Alison Jackson
 
LANGLEY, BC – Entering their third CIS Championships since the cross country programs returned to Trinity Western in 2010, the Spartans have once again taken major strides forward this year and, with head coach Laurier Primeau at the helm for his second year, will be a much more formidable group this year in London, Ont.
 
Like last season, the men’s side is led by second-year Blair Johnston (White Rock, B.C.), who recently finished third at the B.C. Provincial Championships. However, behind Johnston, the Spartans men’s team is deeper than ever before. First-years Levi Neufeld (Winnipeg) and Joel De Schiffart (Nanaimo, B.C.) have already become integral pieces while veterans like Chris Voth (Abbotsford, B.C.), Mihai Prajea (Calgary) and Ross Browne (Surrey, B.C.) along with first-year Nathan Goodwin (Surrey, B.C.) make for a solid core. Third-year Andrew Ott (Abbotsford) will not be racing at nationals.
 
On the women’s side, it’ll be the duo of third-years Alison Jackson (Vermilion, Alta.) and Fiona Benson (Dawson Creek, B.C.) leading the Spartans charge. Jackson, who only raced in one cross country meet this fall because she was training to compete at Age Group Triathlon World Championships where she came 11th in the 20 to 24 age group, finished second at the Western Washington Invitational. As for Benson, she most recently she finished third at the B.C. Provincial Championships. The Spartans depth is filled with a combination of newcomers, in Meg Harradine (Langley) and Laura Merkel (Langley), and second-year veterans, in Nikki Bell (La Salle, Man.) and Katelynn Ramage (Nanaimo). The Spartans Rachelle Briscoe (Kelowna, B.C.) and April Van Woerden (Salmon Arm, B.C.) will not be racing at nationals.

CIS CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW

Saturday will mark the 50th anniversary of the first CIS men’s race. In 1963 in Guelph, Ont., Canadian Olympian Bruce Kidd, then competing for the University of Toronto, claimed the inaugural individual gold medal, while McMaster captured the first team banner.

Female runners would have to wait until 1980 to make their CIS debut, also in Guelph.  

At this year’s national championship, once again, it’ll be the Guelph Gryphons as the team to beat on both the men’s and women’s sides. To say Guelph has dominated CIS cross country in recent years would be a major understatement. The Gryphons have captured the last seven national titles in women’s competition and have won six consecutive men’s championships, both record streaks. Their male runners have also claimed individual gold at the last four CIS meets, including Andrew Dixon’s triumph a year ago, while on the women’s side, Geneviève Lalonde made it a clean sweep for Guelph in 2011.

The Gryphons are overwhelming favourites to take the team titles once again on Saturday. In individual competition, Guelph swept the men’s podium at the OUA championships two weeks ago, with Nixon taking bronze behind teammates Ross Proudfoot (gold) and Yves Sikubwabo (silver), and placed four runners in the top five in the women’s race, including a gold-medal performance from Lalonde.

“I’m confident in our team. We are extremely fit and sharp and are peaking at exactly the right time. Last night was our final hard session and both teams looked brilliant,” Guelph head coach Dave Scott Thomas said earlier this week. “We’ve got a history of nailing our peak and both teams are stronger than last year, with full intentions of extending our CIS title winning streaks. These are tough, talented athletes in superb shape and we’re ready to fly.”

In the other CIS conferences, St. Francis Xavier swept the 2012 AUS team banners, while the McGill women and Laval men repeated as RSEQ champions.

Individually, UNB’s Frida Aspnaes and StFX’s Connor McGuire claimed AUS gold, while McGill’s Jessica Porfilio and Laval’s Charles Philibert-Thiboutot prevailed in Quebec.

“I am extremely proud of both the men’s and women’s teams,” said StFX head coach Bernie Chisholm. “The women dug deep and turned out an outstanding performance for the championship win, and our men’s team ran a tremendous race, running in a pack and staying strong through to the finish.”

“Seven of the top nine finishers, the team and individual titles, it would have been hard to ask for much more. We’re improving with each competition and hopefully we can keep it up at the national championships,” Laval coach Félix-Antoine Lapointe said of his men’s squad. “Our women’s team is very young, we have a lot of first and second-year runners. But like our men, they’re getting better with every race, so I think we can hope for a top-10 finish in London.”

There are no cross country championships in Canada West. Results at the CIS meet determine the conference’s individual and team champions. A year ago, the Victoria Vikes finished second in the CIS women’s standings and third on the men’s side.

CIS CROSS-COUNTRY TEAM CHAMPIONS

Women

2011    Guelph (at Laval)
2010    Guelph (at Sherbrooke)
2009    Guelph (at Queen’s)
2008    Guelph (at Laval)
2007    Guelph (at Victoria)
2006    Guelph (at Laval)
2005    Guelph (at Dalhousie)
2004    Dalhousie (at Guelph)
2003    Calgary (at Moncton)
2002    Toronto (at Western)
2001    Victoria (at Sherbrooke)
2000    Victoria (at Toronto)
1999    Victoria (at RMC / Queen’s)
1998    Victoria (at Waterloo)
1997    Guelph (at Western)
1996    Waterloo (at McGill)
1995    Windsor (at Western)
1994    Victoria (at Western)
1993    Calgary (at Dalhousie)
1992    Calgary (at McGill)
1991    Toronto (at Victoria)
1990    Western (at Ottawa)
1989    Western (at UBC)
1988    Western (at Laval)
1987    Victoria (at Victoria)
1986    Victoria (at Western)
1985    Victoria (at Sherbrooke)
1984    Western (at Guelph)
1983    Western (at Laurentian)
1982    Western (at Laurentian)
1981    Western (at Lethbridge)
1980    Victoria (at Guelph)

Men

2011    Guelph (at Laval)
2010    Guelph (at Sherbrooke)
2009    Guelph (at Queen’s)
2008    Guelph (at Laval)
2007    Guelph (at Victoria)
2006    Guelph (at Laval)
2005    Windsor (at Dalhousie)
2004    Windsor (at Guelph)
2003    Windsor (at Moncton)
2002    Guelph (at Western)
2001    Guelph (at Sherbrooke)
2000    Guelph (at Toronto)
1999    Guelph (at RMC / Queen's)      
1998    Windsor (at Waterloo)
1997    Victoria (at Western)
1996    Victoria (at McGill)
1995    Victoria (at Western)
1994    Victoria (at Western)
1993    UBC (at Dalhousie)
1992    Sherbrooke (at McGill)
1991    Toronto (at Victoria)
1990    Ottawa (at Ottawa)
1989    Manitoba (at UBC)
1988    Manitoba (at Laval)
1987    Ottawa (at Victoria)
1986    Ottawa (at Western)
1985    Western (at Sherbrooke)
1984    Queen's (at Guelph)
1983    Queen's (at Laurentian)
1982    Toronto (at Laurentian)
1981    Queen's (at Lethbridge)
1980    Alberta (at Guelph)
1979    Queen's (at Toronto)
1978    Toronto (at Toronto)
1977    Toronto (at Queen's)
1976    Western (at Guelph)
1975    Toronto (at Victoria)
1974    Toronto (at Guelph)
1973    OUAA All-Stars (at RMC / Queen's)
1972    OUAA All-Stars (at RMC)
1971    Western (at UNB)
1970    Western (at UBC)
1969    Guelph (at MacDonald)
1968    Saskatchewan (at Dalhousie)
1967    Toronto (at Guelph)
1966    Toronto (at Guelph)
1965    Toronto (at Guelph)
1964    Manitoba (at Guelph)
1963    McMaster (at Guelph)

CIS CROSS-COUNTRY INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONS

Women

2011    Geneviève Lalonde, Guelph
2010    Jessica Pearo, McMaster
2009    Megan Brown, Toronto
2008    Megan Brown, Toronto
2007    Lindsay Carson, Guelph
2006    Megan Brown, Toronto
2005    Beth Wightman, Toronto
2004    Kristina Rody, Guelph
2003    Beth Wightman, Queen’s
2002    Sarah Dillabaugh, Ottawa
2001    Beth Wightman, Queen's
2000    Debbie Buhlers, Waterloo
1999    Teresa Duck, Western
1998    Nathalie Côté, Ottawa
1997    Nathalie Côté, Ottawa
1996    Nathalie Côté, Ottawa
1995    Missy McCleary, Windsor
1994    Linda Thyer, McGill
1993    Lisa Harvey, Calgary
1992    Lisa Harvey, Calgary
1991    Anna Gunasekera, Victoria
1990    Anna Gunasekera, Victoria
1989    Lucy Smith, Dalhousie
1988    Lucy Smith, Dalhousie
1987    Brenda Shackleton, Victoria
1986    Brenda Shackleton, Victoria
1985    Brenda Shackleton, Victoria
1984    Jill Purola, Western
1983    Sylvia Ruegger, Guelph
1982    Nancy Rooks, York
1981    Anne-Marie Malone, Queen’s
1980    Sylvia Ruegger, Guelph

Men

2011    Andrew Nixon, Guelph
2010    Kyle Boorsma, Guelph
2009    Matt Brunsting, Guelph
2008    Matt Brunsting, Guelph
2007    Alex Genest, Sherbrooke
2006    Geoffrey Kerr, Calgary
2005    Cristiano Mauricio, Windsor
2004    Cristiano Mauricio, Windsor
2003    Eric Gillis, StFX
2002    Jamie Epp, Saskatchewan
2001    Jerry Ziak, Victoria
2000    Jamie Epp, Saskatchewan
1999    Graham Cocksedge, Victoria
1998    Jeremy Deere, Calgary
1997    Guy Schultz, Western
1996    Éric Jobin, Sherbrooke
1995    Jeff Schiebler, UBC
1994    Joël Bourgeois, Moncton
1993    Brendan Matthias, Toronto
1992    Graeme Fell, UBC
1991    Brendan Matthias, Toronto
1990    John Halvorsen, Ottawa
1989    Richard Charrette, Ottawa
1988    John Halvorsen, Ottawa
1987    John Halvorsen, Ottawa
1986    John Halvorsen, Ottawa
1985    Bob Rice, Ottawa
1984    Paul McCloy, Memorial
1983    Paul McCloy, Memorial
1982    Brian Rhodes, Alberta
1981    Paul McCloy, Memorial
1980    Paul Williams, Toronto
1979    Peter Butler, Calgary
1978    Paul Williams, Toronto
1977    Paul Williams, Guelph
1976    Brian Stride, Brock
1975    Joe Sax, Western
1974    John Sharp, Toronto
1973    John Sharp, Toronto
1972    Rick Munro, Dalhousie
1971    Grant McLaren, Western
1970    Dave Smith, York
1969    Grant McLaren, Guelph
1968    Dave Smith, York
1967    David Bailey, Toronto
1966    David Bailey, Toronto
1965    Jerome Drayton, Toronto
1964    Chris Williamson, UNB
1963    Bruce Kidd, Toronto

CANADA WEST PREVIEW
 
ALBERTA GOLDEN BEARS & PANDAS
2011 men’s CIS: 11th
2011 men’s CW: 4th
Last CIS men’s title: 1980
Last CW men’s title: 2004
CIS men’s ranking: N/A
 
2011 women’s CIS: 14th
2011 women’s CW: 4th
Last CIS women’s title: N/A
Last CW women’s title: 1997
CIS women’s ranking: N/A
 
Key departures: Hayley Degaust, Alana Soderberg, Nicole Soderberg and Graeme Law
 
EDMONTON – Since last season the Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas program, as well as track and field, underwent massive changes.
 
A structural change brought Wes Moerman into the program where he now serves as the Associate Director of Athletics Programming for the Golden Bears and Pandas cross-country and track and field programs. Former head coach Georgette Reed is no longer with either team, and the direction for both sports comes from Moerman, who previously coached at the Canadian Athletics Coaching Centre at Foote Field. Using the resources of that body, the U of A hopes to rebuild its cross-country and track and field programs to be able to compete for championships at a national level.
 
A number of student-athletes from the 2011 season are not returning as well. As such, the U of A is just four student-athletes to the 2012 CIS cross-country championship at Western University in London, Ontario. The focus for Golden Bears Tom Fleming and Buddy Brown, as well as Pandas Jacqueline Trautman and Jessie Lilly, will be on championship experience and personal goals, not competing for a Canada West or CIS championship.
 
CALGARY DINOS
2011 men’s CIS: 8th
2011 men’s CW: 2nd
Last CIS men’s title: N/A
Last CW men’s title: 2008
CIS men’s ranking: #9
 
2011 women’s CIS: 9th
2011 women’s CW: 3rd
Last CIS women’s title: 2003
Last CW women’s title: 2010
CIS women’s ranking: #6
 
CALGARY – The Dinos expect to battle it out with the Victoria Vikes and Regina Cougars for Canada West supremacy at the 2012 CIS Cross Country Championships this weekend in London, Ont.

The Calgary women, who won six Canada West titles in eight years spanning from 2003-10, are ranked sixth in the nation, three spots behind the Vikes, heading into the meet. Led by a second-place performance by Grace Kary, the Dinos head to Western fresh off a team title at the Stewart Cup provincial championship event in Calgary, where they posted three of the top seven times. Joining the fourth-year veteran Kary on the squad are Gloria Kanuka, Bridget Pyke, and Talia Webber – all making their at least their second appearance at the CIS event. They’re joined by rookies Emma Cook-Clarke, Ariana Dirk, and Alana Skocdopole.

The Dinos men, meanwhile, finished second behind Regina at the Stewart Cup two weeks ago. Fourth-year business student Brad Bickley led the way for the Dinos in that event with a fourth-place finish and the Alberta provincial title, with fifth-year veteran Matt Cloutier returning to the Calgary line-up after a year off. That tandem is joined by Simon Schaerz, Gareth Hadfield, Curtis Merry, Abdel Dib, and Roman Justinen for the No. 9-ranked Dinos men’s team.
 
MANITOBA BISONS
2011 men’s CIS: 12th
2011 men’s CW: 5th
Last CIS men’s title: 1989
Last CW men’s title: 1990
CIS men’s ranking: N/A
 
2011 women’s CIS: 16th
2011 women’s CW: 6th
Last CIS women’s title: N/A
Last CW women’s title: 2002
CIS women’s ranking: N/A
 
WINNIPEG – The Bison women’s cross country team has three of seven returning members from last season’s team (one more did not run last season but has previous CIS Championship experience) who competed at the CIS Championships. The young and somewhat experienced squad are aiming for more individual results than team goals.
 
This season, there has not been one leader but three as fifth-year Alice Sherwin, fourth-year Nicole Dubois and fifth-year Nicole Barrett have all been the leading runner during races in 2012 season. Sherwin was top Bison in two races (U of Sask open, Ron Pynn), Dubois was first Bison in two races (Roy Griak, Stewart Cup) and Barrett won the Manitoba Championship. All three will push each other to fight for top Bison and could end up in the Top 40 of finishers at this year’s CIS Championship .
 
Along with three, the other four runners have all had good results this year and add depth to the squad. Third-year Stevie Moore runs in her second consecutive CIS Championship and was fourth in Manitoba Championship. Third year Kristjana Britton was third at the Ron Pynn meet while fourth-year Kailey Kroeker was second in the Manitoba Championship and rookie Taylor Sprague was fourth highest Bison in three different meets this season.
 
The Bison men’s cross country team have three of seven members from last season’s squad who ran at the CIS Championships. Third-year Thomas Miller has been the leading Bison runner throughout the 2012 season and looks to continue at the CIS Championship. He was the highest Bison finisher in last season’s championship and was leader for all Manitoba runners in four of five races this season. He looks to improve on his 68th place result last season and could contend in the Top 40.
 
Other Bisons with past CIS championship experience are fifth-year Elliott Cooke who makes his second appearance at a CIS Nationals and was second at Manitoba Championship and third-highest Bison at Stewart Cup plus third-year Eric Thacher makes second CIS appearance and was second Bison in three meets (Roy Griak, U of Sask Open and Stewart Cup).
 
In addition, the other four runners make up this young and inexperienced team at the CIS Championship level. Fifth-year Stephen Campbell had his best finish when he was third highest Bison at the Manitoba Championship, second-year Riley MacCharles was the highest Manitoba finisher at the Ron Pynn meet, second-year Patrick Naylor finished as third best Bison at U of Sask Open and rookie Patrique Bulloch best result was third-highest Bison at Roy Griak
 
REGINA COUGARS
2011 men’s CIS: 10th
2011 men’s CW: 3rd
Last CIS men’s title: N/A
Last CW men’s title: 2009
CIS men’s ranking: #5
 
2011 women’s CIS: 15th
2011 women’s CW: 5th
Last CIS women’s title: N/A
Last CW women’s title: N/A
CIS women’s ranking: N/A
 
REGINA – The Regina Cougars send the nation’s #5 team on the men’s side and two strong individual women’s runners to the CIS cross country championships in London, Ont.
 
Leading the way for the men’s team is fifth-year harrier Kelly Wiebe, who’s finished first in all four meets this season – including the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, where he placed first out of 135 runners competing at the NCAA Div. I meet.
 
Iain Fyfe is a strong No. 2 runner for the Cougars, as the fifth-year runner has placed second behind Wiebe in the individual standings in two of the three meets he’s competed in this season. Third-year runners Matt Johnson and Michael Middlemiss and rookie Adam Strueby will be counted upon for strong performances, while veteran Marc Beaton and former swimmer Sean Hooper round out the U of R’s seven runners.
 
The women’s team will be represented by two runners, including fourth-year runner Karissa LePage who will be competing at her third CIS Championship. Representing the Cougars for the second time at nationals is second-year harrier Avery Westberg.
 
The teams are guided by cross country coach Graeme McMaster and track & field and cross country head coach Bruce McCannel.

SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES
2011 men’s CIS: 14th
2011 men’s CW: 6th
Last CIS men’s title: 1968
Last CW men’s title: 1979
CIS men’s ranking: N/A
 
2011 women’s CIS: 4th
2011 women’s CW: 2nd
Last CIS women’s title: N/A
Last CW women’s title: N/A
CIS women’s ranking: N/A
 
SASKATOON – Both the University of Saskatchewan Huskie men’s and women’s cross country rosters will feature youth at the 2012 Canada West and CIS Championships.
 
After the graduation of four fifth-year athletes last season from the women’s team and the departure of Canada West all-star Samir Marin on the men’s side, the Huskies will have just four athletes in third year of eligibility or higher at the competing in the championship race. Only six athletes on the roster have raced in the Canada West/CIS Championships in previous seasons.
 
As a team, the Huskies will strive for a Top 10 finish in the CIS men’s and women’s races. In 2011, the Huskie women’s team had a program-best second place Canada West finish and fourth place CIS finish, while the men finished 14th in the CIS and sixth in the conference.
 
Leading the women’s team will be sister’s Gabrielle and Rachael Edwards. Both have experience competing on the national and international stage in cross country and triathlon. Rachael Edwards finished 16th in the Canada West and 53rd in the CIS last season. Also joining the team is distance track & field athletes Brittany Elliott and Elecktra Charles. Both bring experience from Canada West and CIS championships in track & field.
 
Also competing for the Huskie women’s squad will be rookie Mackenzie Chartier, Shannon McAvoy and Courtney Sjodin who finished 28th in the conference in 2011.
 
On the men’s side, second-year Davis Guenther, fourth-year Riley Magee and third-year Eric Mueller all have CIS Championship experience and will be looked to lead the team. Mueller finished 24th in the Canada West and  80th in the CIS in 2011, while Magee finished 33rd in the conference and Guenther 35th.
 
The Huskie men’s team also feature rookies Reid Balezantis, Robert Bigsby, Taryn Heidecker and Regan Silversides.
 
In 2012 non-conference competition, the Huskie women’s team has finished second or higher among University teams in their three races. The men have gained experience and improved in each race this year.
 
VICTORIA VIKES
2011 men’s CIS: 3rd
2011 men’s CW: 1st
Last CIS men’s title: 1997
Last CW men’s title: 2011
CIS men’s ranking: #2
 
2011 women’s CIS: 2nd
2011 women’s CW: 1st
Last CIS women’s title: 2001
Last CW women’s title: 2011
CIS women’s ranking: #3
 
Key returnees: Ryan Cassidy (M), Doug Oxland (M), Karl Robertson (M), Thomas Riva (M); Stephanie Trenholm (W), Brittany Therrien (W), Jenna van Vliet (W), Kendra Pomfret (W)
 
Key additions: Brendon Restall (M), Emma Bibault (W), Allison Hooper (W)
 
Key departures: Clifford Childs (M), Alicia Roske (W), Laura Mitic (W)
 
VICTORIA – Heading into his 26th season as head coach of the Victoria men’s and women’s cross country teams, Brent Fougner has all the pieces of the puzzle to create another Canada West and CIS championship-winning squad.
 
Earning team titles at each event, the Vikes have raced in three meets this year, the St. Martin’s University Invitational in Lacey, Wash., the Western Washington University Invite in Bellingham, and the Beaver Classic in Corvallis, Ore.
 
Leading the pack is 2011 Canada West Rookie of the Year, Ryan Cassidy. Cassidy won the SMU Invitational and earned a second-place finish in the WWU Invite while coming third in the Beaver Classic. As a freshman, Cassidy finished 15th at last year’s CIS Championship.
 
The real strength of the 2012 men's team is its depth, at the recent Beaver Classic, the Vikes men had all seven of its finishers cross the line within 30 seconds of one another. Second-year runners Forrest Simpson and Jackson Bocksnick alongside fourth-year veterans Doug Oxland, Karl Robertson and Thomas Riva will also be counted on for strong performances this season.
 
The Vikes women were runners up at the 2011 CIS championships and this year field another strong team looking to best last year’s silver medal finish. A significant loss for the team is 2011 CIS Rookie of the Year and 2011 individual bronze medalist, Ellen Pennock, currently out with an injury. However, last year's CIS fifth-place finisher Stephanie Trenholm returns and the Vikes will race fourth-year transfer Madeline MacDonald who in 2010, was a CIS First-Team All Canadian while racing for the University of Calgary Dinos and this year won the St. Martin’s Invitational in Vikes blue and yellow.
 
Fifth-year Brittany Therrien came into the season in terrific shape and along with third-year runner Jenna Van Vliet, a veteran of Canada's junior national track and field team, will look to make an impact for the Vikes this year.
 
Rounding out the Vikes women’s contingent is fourth-year Kendra Pomfret the 2011 Canada West 1000-m indoor champion, rookie stand-out Alison Hooper and second-year Rachel Francois. Francois was the 2011 CIS indoor track and field Rookie of Year and the 600-m indoor gold medalist.

About Canadian Interuniversity Sport

Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. Every year, 11,000 student-athletes and 700 coaches from 54 universities and four regional associations vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS also provides high performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships.

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Last Updated: 2013-08-22
Author: Mark Janzen

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