CIS Cross Country Championships: Guelph are the favourites, but facing stiff competition

November 6, 2015 0

© Copyright – 2015 – Athletics Illustrated

The 2015 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Cross Country Championships will be taking place in Guelph, Ontario on Saturday, November 14th and the perennial favourites, the University of Guelph Gryphons, find themselves facing stiff competition.

The meet video stream can viewed www.cis-sic.tv.

The Gryphons’ teams are both the defending champions. In fact they have won nine consecutive (men) and 10 consecutive (women) championships, respectively and this year they have home-course advantage.

“We are looking forward to hosting the rest of the CIS next weekend at the CIS Championships.  The course is in excellent shape and our organizing committee has been working diligently to put together a great event,” shared Gryphons’ Coach Christopher Moulton.

The Trinity Western University Spartans women’s team will fight for top placing. They lost two very strong veterans to graduation in Fiona Benson and Alison Jackson, but have re-loaded well.

“My hopes are high on the girl’s side. I think we are looking pretty good for a podium spot.  Our fifth placer has really stepped up and our top-four have been very consistent this year. I’m expecting with some rest for the first time, they’ll be ready to roll,” shared Coach Mark Bomba.

Sarah Inglis demonstrated her fitness during the BC Athletics Cross Country Championships that took place in Nanaimo’s Beban Park in October. She brazenly increased her lead after two kilometres and finished 21 seconds ahead of the next competitor.

“Sarah should be in for a fight to win and I expect our next three girls to be Lisa Brooking, Regan Yee and Mirelle Martens,” added Bomba. “The key for us will be our fifth and sixth girls. They have really improved and I don’t think they have come near their best possible performances yet. If we can get one of them to have a break-out race, things could get very interesting on the team side.”

Moulton shared, “On the women’s side we were quite encouraged by the runs from our fourth, fifth and sixth runners (Danielle Jossinet, Cheryse Mitton and Sarah Wismer), they are three athletes that had never run at the OUA Championships before and on Saturday they ran great.”

“The front end of the OUA and CIS for that matter, on the women’s side is incredibly strong. Gabriela, Julie-Anne and Stefanie ran very good races; we feel our course sets up well for our team.”

Moulton told Athletics Illustrated, “Trinity Western is an exceptional team, they obviously lost two great athletes in Fiona Benson and Alison Jackson, but with the additions of Lisa Brooking and Mirelle Martens they have replaced them well. Mark Bomba is an excellent coach and we know he will have them ready.”

Gary Malloy, Head Coach of the Windsor Lancers was a little less committed on where the Lancer women will finish. “Our women will be represented by Stefanie Smith; she is a third year athlete and Allie Parks a fourth year. Both had outstanding performances at the OUA Championships. They finished third and eighth, respectively.

Stef has been looking strong all season, while Allie, really started coming into her own after our trip out to Washington at Thanksgiving. Obviously, it would be great if both of them could finish the season as All-Canadians.”

The University of Victoria Vikes top three women will be Chloe Hegland, Shauna McInnis and Emma Bibault. The Vikes had a strong team finish at the provincial club championships and are healthy; however, it will take strong performances throughout the line-up to reach the podium.

Coach, Brent Fougner said, “The women’s are looking to maintain their top five ranking. Everyone that is running is in fantastic shape coming off some great fall training; I’m excited to see what they can pull together.”

Over the past three years the Vike women have finished fourth, eighth and sixth.

The Kitely-McInnis poll at Trackie.ca suggest a Guelph, Toronto and Trinity Western top-three finish order with Victoria finishing fifth and Windsor 14th.

Men

Were the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) provincial championships a foreshadowing of change? When asked about his men’s team, Moulton said, “We did not have a great day at OUAs; our team knows we have to run better if we want to win at CIS.  Full credit to Windsor and McMaster as they ran very well, but to be candid, after the race, I thought Windsor had got us. Any of at least six teams are in contention to win the men’s team title, this makes developing a race plan challenging.”

The OUAs perhaps indicate an opportunity for teams that have been moving up the competitive ladder recently, “Guys are looking very good. But there is a lot of parity this year on the men’s side, we could just as easily place fifth or seventh as be on the podium. It is pretty simple really, our top five need to be our top five and they need to do what their supposed to do and we’ll be fine,” said Bomba.

“The key for us is we have veteran leadership and guys who have been there before.”

Declan White challenged for the win at the BC provincial club championships, unlike Inglis, he waited patiently and stayed with the lead of Luc Bruchet and Chris Winter throughout the race. It wasn’t until the final 150 metres did a sprint take place and they virtually tied in the end. In fact, placings were not determined until a review was undertaken, giving Bruchet the win.

Bomba added, “I expect Declan White to be in a position to run for the win and I think we have four more guys who have top-20-25 potential.  Joel Deschiffart is doing his typical good work and is racing well for the middle of the season, to get ready for CIS. Blair Johnston has been rolling workouts with him. The guy’s race in general is going to be very dramatic with a lot of tension. The men’s championship could quite literally depend on one or two runners having good or bad days.”

In 2014 the Windsor Lancers finished in a disappointing fifth place, which is a drop of three positions from the 2013 championships where they finished second overall. They are keen to get back on the podium. The top-five finish order last year saw Guelph win with 27 points, Victoria had a fantastic day with 103 points for second, Laval finished third (131), McMaster fourth (144) and Windsor fifth (148).

Malloy offered, “As far as our men’s team is concerned, we are hoping for a return to the CIS podium after last year’s somewhat disappointing fifth place finish in the Newfoundland gales.

Our team is led by All-Conference veterans Paul Janikowski, who is a fifth year veteran and fourth year Corey Bellemore. Our men’s team has been solid all year with the strong additions of third year Joe Kagumba, Jordan Collison (fifth year and Shawn Master (3rd year), who all finished in the top-17 at the OUA Championships.

Everybody is feeling healthy as of today, so we’re looking forward to another great Canadian Universities’ Championship at the Guelph Arboretum.

The Men’s competition is shaping up to be one of the most exciting ones in years with strong teams from Guelph, McMaster, Laval, Trinity Western and Victoria all challenging our Lancers for one of those coveted podium spots. It will be lots of fun to watch!”

Moulton suggested that their team needs to “manage expectations” and “run intelligently” adding, “If we can do that we feel we have a good shot at winning.  We anticipate a very excited crowd on hand, having the meet at home can be a great advantage for our team and we have to channel the energy that comes from it appropriately. “

The Vikes have a long history of performing well at CIS/CIAU Championships, typically they win the Western conference and finish top-five, last year they had a great race to finish second, in 2013 they were sixth. While the pollsters at Trackie.ca suggest a sixth place finish, Head Coach Brent Fougner is suggesting otherwise.

“We’ll be looking for our veterans to step up big time at CI’s. Both teams have a lot of new faces on them and it’s great to see how they’ve all meshed through the season. The men’s team have a very good shot at top three. “

The Vikes top three should be, Forrest Simpson, Olivier Collin and Shoayb Bascal.

Details, results and course information are available, here.

http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/xc/index

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