EDMONTON, A.B. - UBC Okanagan Heat women’s cross country team tops at Alberta Colleges Athletic Association (ACAC) Grand Prix #3 Race this past Saturday. The Heat team proved its No. 1 ranking early in the week was no fluke as their showed remarkable depth in their win in Edmonton at the 5 km. Race hosted by Concordia University College of Alberta.
With a score of 41 points, the UBC Okanagan women bested all Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) teams at the meet, SAIT from Calgary trailed the Heat with 44 points, third went to Lethbridge College at 58.
Continuing her role as front-runner, Sandra Kilmartin was the 6th collegiate runner in 20:16. Not far behind were Michelle Blackburne in 9th (20:33), Alea Stockton in 11th (21:02) and Anna Merino in 15th (21:31). Displacers were Julianna Neudorf in 17th (21:39) and Trisha Metro in 19th (21:43).
This was the first time Heat cross country runner have faced off against Alberta during the ACAC regular season and, for UBC Okanagan, the race did provided a solid preview of the strong competition they will encounter at the CCAA national championships.
Traditionally the ACAC teams have been very strong at the CCAA championships, which this year will be hosted by Humber College in Toronto on November 9th.
The course in Edmonton, although very hilly compared to the terrain the Heat had grown accustomed too, did not seem to alter the team’s strategy as they ran a very tight race; with the six Heat runners travelling the first kilometer with only a five second spread from the first to sixth Heat runner.
“Our depth is what makes us so strong” explains Coach Nikki Reiter, out of 81 collegiate runners; all six Heat runners came in within a spread of 13 places.
“With the objective of cross country team running being to produce the lowest combined score of the top four runners, many programs depend on having one extremely fast girl to lower their overall score,” continues Reiter. “We are fortunate that we have the flexibility to have a different makeup of scorers each race.”
“This past weekend, for an example” points out Reiter, “we had our four scorers place between 6th and 15th. Not far behind were our sixth and seventh runner in 17th and 19th.”
“They’ve been working incredibly hard with the talent that they have,” says Nikki about her team’s dedication over the past year, and although many of the runners on the team joined the team without the most impressive running resumes Nikki knows that her team’s hard work is “paying off big-time.”
The Heat Cross Country women will travel to Bellingham, WA next weekend to compete in the Western Washington University Invitational 6 km race.
The men’s cross country team raced in the Crescent Park Cross Country Race in South Surrey this past Saturday. Crescent Park Cross Country 2013 Results.