© Copyright – 2013 – Athletics Illustrated
The Canadian Interuniversity Cross Country Championships – the “CI’s” – are taking place Saturday, November 9th in London, Ontario at the University of Western Ontario on the Thames Valley Golf Course.
As there is little emphasis on CIS-wide competition throughout the cross-country season, ranking accurately includes much guesswork.
Since 1963, the Gryphon men have won a total of 12 titles, including the past seven years, consecutively. The women have won nine since 1980 including the previous eight years, consecutively. There is no reason to doubt they will both repeat as champions in the 2013 meet.
On the men’s side, number two ranked Université Laval appears to be the favourite however; they will be challenged by McMaster, Windsor and Victoria, who are ranked in order, as listed. Trinity Western University is one of the more improved teams and is a bit of a dark horse.
On the women’s side, the Gryphons, should only be beaten if the team experiences a sudden spate of injuries. They are not as clear-cut favourites in comparisons to the men’s rankings however, will win. Western is ranked number two, closely followed by Toronto and Queens, while Victoria is ranked as fifth again and again, Trinity Western appear to be a potential dark horse.
Chris Moulton, coach of the Guelph team said, “For the guys, everyone is healthy and ready to go. Andrew Nixon had an Achilles injury early in the season but that is resolved and he is getting fitter by the day. He ran a very intelligent race at OUAs and we expect further progress from there at CIs.” Nixon won the race in 2011, and the team has only gotten stronger, as Nixon finished third overall at the OUA Championships behind teammate Ross Proudfoot and Yves Sikubwabo, who ran part of the race shoeless.
The Gryphons won the prestigious 12th Annual Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic, Saturday, October 5th in Louisville, Kentucky, their first ever major NCAA division 1 victory.
Meanwhile, the University of Victoria won the Bronco Invitational in Santa Clara, California with rookie Vike Ryan Cassidy finishing third overall in this NCAA division one meet, while Saturday, October 26th Ben Weir won the BC Cross Country Championships, handily; he is an alternate on the team. The women finished second overall to the University of British Columbia, with Shauna McInnis leading the Vikes finishing 22nd overall.
When asked about the men’s team, Moulton said, “On the women’s side, Joanna Brown has been battling a bug, but seems to be coming through and should be ready for CIs. We have seen great strides from Katrina Allison and Robyn Mildren this year, both of whom had huge personal bests in the 3k we ran the week before OUAs and responded extremely well to the pressure of running at a championship meet. The OUA is extremely strong on the women’s side this year, so we were pleased with how the girls performed at the championships and will look to sharpen up over the next 10 days to get ready for Thames Valley. Our girls were magnificent there last year and we will look to perform at a similar level this year.”
As for the men, Moulton added, “Yves Sikubwabo lost his shoe at OUAs otherwise he would have been right up in the lead pack with the other lead three. That whole lead group is in the best shape of their lives. Christian Gravel ran extremely well at OUAs, he stepped up in Yves’ absence at the front and for someone running at their first collegiate championships was fantastic. Like Katrina and Robyn, that is our expectation for our athletes, you may not get to run OUs or CIs your first year but when you get the opportunity you will be ready to step on the line and contend to be an All-Canadian.”
Although Western should benefit from having home town advantage, as well as home course advantage they will finish out of the top-5 and will likely finish around 7th. Victoria’s depth and recent outstanding performances, stateside, it is likely the men will finish second overall to the Gryphons. Windsor should finish third however; Laval and McMaster will challenge and it should be close.
After Guelph it is anyone’s guess however, Western is at home and should challenge for second over Queens. Queens have yet to field their very best team when facing Western. University of Toronto may be overrated, and may be overtaken by either Victoria – and if Sarah Inglis of Trinity Western lives up to expectations, she could help the team vault to fourth and who knows, anything can and usually does happen on race day.