University of Guelph Gryphons: Favourites to defend streak of national championships

October 2, 2014 0

© Copyright – 2014 – Athletics Illustrated

Chris Moulton
Christopher Kelsall

The University of Guelph Gryphons men’s and women’s cross country teams are once again readGryphonLogo8x6y to perform at the top of the CIS this season.

Considering all of the Championships that they have won over the past 15 years, to suggest that the men’s team is potentially the best ever, demonstrates great confidence and that is exactly what Coach Chris Moulton states as he told Athletics Illustrated, “On the men’s side, this is a veteran-heavy team and may be our strongest team ever.”

According to Moulton, Tristan Woodfine is in phenomenal shape and a clear demonstration of his current fitness manifested in him dominating the New Balance Vic Matthews Open that took place on September 20th in Guelph, he won by almost 40 seconds.

In regards to some of the other men, Moulton said, “Aaron Hendrikx was banged up at the end of the summer, but is now fully healthy.  Ross Proudfoot is looking to become a five-time first team All-Canadian this season.  He, Yves Sikubwabo and Christian Gravel are all progressing very well and we are seeing some of their strongest training ever.  Those five returning athletes are All-Canadians.  Chris Dulhanty is our team captain and had an awesome summer season; he is looking to translate his track success to cross.”

If those are not the words of a Coach with a team ready to win for the 13th time in 16 years and nine straight at CIS, then there are none.  Guelph’s men are again ranked clear favourites for a good reason.

The 2014 championship event takes place on Saturday, November 8th in St. John’s, Newfoundland at Memorial University.

On the women’s side, Guelph returns four All-Canadians from the 2013 cross country season. They are running for their 10th straight CIS Cross Country Championships title.  According to Moulton, “This women’s team is a lot of fun to work with, they are not at afraid of hard work and have been putting in some impressive training.”Gryphs2

Team Captain, Carise Thompson finished second at both the 2012 and the 2013 CIS Championships. She continued to improve over the summer as she dropped her 1500m personal best time to 4:15.  A testament to the strength of the Guelph team, she placed 4th at Vic Open.

Moulton added, “Heather Petrick has been outstanding this fall and has to be considered one of the favourites for CIS.  Katelyn Ayers ran her first ever cross country race at the Vic Matthews; she has transitioned to running from lacrosse and had a great summer season finishing ninth at World Juniors in both the 800m and 1500m.  She is adapting really well to the longer distances.”

“Katrina Alison is in the best shape of her life, she had a huge break-through over 5,000m last year, taking nearly 40 seconds off of her personal best.  Madeline Yungblut is back training after a frustrating year of injuries.  She has been a two-time All-Canadian and we are trying to take it slow with her to keep her healthy, she had a great start at the New Balance Vic Matthews Open.

Behind those five, Guelph has an interesting mix of veterans and younger athletes.  Jenn Dowling-Medley has been an alternate on their team multiple times and is training at a new level this fall, in her fifth year.  Val Cote is also a fifth-year returnee and according to Moulton has also been putting in some great workouts.  Sophie Watts is a second-year athlete from Nova Scotia and was a strong runner in high school and continues to show big improvements in her first year, as she dropped her 1500m time by almost 30 seconds, down to 4:20. Sarah Wismer is a local runner from Centennial CVI and the Speed River junior program; she represented Canada at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in 2012 and is transitioning well in her first year.  Similarly Rachyl MacPhail was the Nova Scotia high school champion and from Steve Morley’s group in Halifax, the same group Watts came from. “She is adapting very well and we are excited to see what both she and Sarah can do this fall,” offered Moulton.Gravel_Flash

“Overall I would say our fall has gone very well so far, we have stayed largely healthy and have put in some outstanding training.  The New Balance Vic Matthews Open was a great way to start our season, it was nice to test ourselves on the CIS race distances and battle some out of province competition.”

The Gryphons have two big meets coming up, Saturday, October 4th at Lehigh for the Paul Short event and then two weeks from Friday, they will be the first non-NCAA D-1 team to run at the Adidas Wisconsin Invite.  “These meets should give our teams very strong challenges before we move into the championship part of the season.  The OUA Championships are in Kingston, on a course where we have had a lot of success over the years and the CIS Championships are in St John’s. Our team is very excited to head out to Newfoundland as many of our athletes (and coaches) have never been there before.

Returning:

Aaron Hendrikx– 2011 6th, 2012 3rd, 2013 1st, 3:43-1500, 13:51-5000
Tristan Woodfine– 2013 2nd, 10000-28:54
Ross Proudfoot 2011 4th, 2012 2nd, 2013 7th, 3:39-1500, 7:57-3000, 13:58-5000
Yves Sikubwabo 2012 7th, 2013 8th, 3:45-1500
Chris Dulhanty– 2013 30th 3:43-1500, 8:40- Steeple, 14:22-5000
Chris Gravel 2013 13th, 2013 World Junior Team Member XC, 3:48-1500
Kyle Grieve– 2012 31st, 3:44-1500
Drew Anderson– 3:51-1500

Newcomers:

Andrew Costello 3:47-1500
Connor Black 8:38-3000, 15:08-5000
Peter Quosai 10th OFSAA XC

Women

Returning:

Carise Thompson 2011 4th, 2012 2nd, 2013 2nd 4:15- 1500, 16:03-5000
Heather Petrick 2013 4th, 9:24-3000, 16:04-5000
Madeline Yungblut 2012 6th, 2013 7th, 9:31-3000, 16:19- 5000
Katrina Alison 2013 10th 16:26-5000
Katelyn Ayers 2:04-800, 4:17-1500
Sophia Watts 4:20-1500
Jenn Dowling Medley– 17:24-5000
Val Cote 17:21-5000, 35:27-10000

Newcomers:

Rachyl MacPhail – Nova Scotia XC Champ
Sarah Wismer – 10:01-3000, 10th Canadian Juniors XC, 2013 World Junior Team Member XC
Charlotte Ward – 4:38-1500

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