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Oct 26 2017 - Atlantic University Cross country Championships Set for this weekend

This Saturday,  Acadia University will be hosting the fastest runners of the Atlantic Canadian varsity circuit this Saturday, October 28th at the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) cross-country championship. The competition promises to entertain on both the men’s and women’s side, as observers will rarely have seen such parity within the conference. Start time for the varsity women is scheduled for 12:00 pm, while the men will be toeing the line at 12:45 pm.

 

On the ladies’ side, the Dalhousie Tigers are the front-runners. Lead by 2016 national cross-country junior champion and AUS rookie Savanna Jordan, and senior runner and perennial team cornerstone Michelle Reddy, the Rich Lehman-coached ladies are ready to pounce. They finished 3rd overall at the Laval Rouge et Or Invitational, and first among AUS teams. Last year, they were crowned AUS champions, placing their entire scoring squad in the conference top ten. This year, however, they do not anticipate a win to come as easily. The St. FX X-Women, lead by veteran runner Liz MacDonald and Junior Catherine Thompson, as well as the Acadia Axewomen, will be closely chasing.  They recently took top team honours at their home meet at St. FX University, while the Tigers rested their legs. The Axewomen, last year’s bronze medal winners, are lead by New Brunswick native Katie Robinson. The runner from Saint John was the individual victor in the X-Women-dominated race in Antigonish on October 14th.

 

Also ready to make an impact are two runners from New Brunswick, Carol-Ann MacDonald and Kamylle Frenette, both competing with Université de Moncton. MacDonald snagged bronze at the SMU/Dal invitational, after being Reddy’s runner up in UNB/STU invitational, a week prior. Frenette placed 12th in Halifax, and followed it up with a 46th place finish at the Laval Rouge et Or Invitational, a race in which Carol-Ann placed 13th overall. Lead by these two ladies, les Aigles Bleues will try to improve on their fourth place finish from last year.

 

On the men’s side, a heated battle is expected. Lee Wesselius of River Glade, NB, leads the young University of Prince Edward Island Panthers team to what will only be their second AUS championship. He comes into the competition with a 9th place finish at the Laval Rouge et Or Invitational, a race in which he was the 4th AUS runner to cross the line. Though he is vying for the title of individual champion, he will be challenged by the likes of Cal DeWolfe of Dalhousie, and Alex Neuffer and Angus Rawling of St. FX. DeWolfe is the defending AUS cross-country champion, and edged Wesselius by one second in Laval. Rawling took top spot at the SMU/Dal open and the St. FX Invitational, while Neuffer mounted the podium’s highest echelon at the UNB/STU Invitational, early in the season. Having all run for St. FX in 2015-2016, the four runners are well acquainted with each other, and the battle for supremacy will be fierce.

 

Lead by Wesselius, New Brunswick is once again well represented at this championship on the men’s front. Michael Colford, a sophomore runner, is the leader of University of New Brunswick’s young team. He had finished only six seconds behind Wesselius at the UNB/STU meet, on route to a 4th place finish. He was 22nd at the Laval Rouge et Or Invitational.

 

Angus MacIntosh of Riverview, NB is poised to play a key role in Dalhousie’s hunt for the team title. Last year’s ninth place finisher is rounding into form after battling injury. The 3000 metre steeplechase specialist finished in 31st place at the Laval Rouge et Or Invitational, and is rounding into form just in time for the championship races. Trying to challenge MacIntosh will be fellow steeplechaser Bryan Thomas, of Université de Moncton. The Bathurst, NB native was 66th in Laval, and had been 17th at the SMU/Dal Invitational.

 

The St. Francis Xavier X-Men will be vying for a seventh straight conference title in coach Bernie Chisholm’s final season as bench boss, but they will have their hands full with Dalhousie’s veteran team. UNB will try to sneak on the podium, and improve from their 5th place finish from last year, while Université de Moncton will try to defend their 2016 bronze medal.

The top runners from these races will compete in the U Sports (formerly Canadian Interuniversity Sport) Cross-Country Championships, which will be taking place in Victoria, British Columbia on November 12th.

 

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