ETOBICOKE, ON - The UBC Okanagan Heat women’s cross country team placed four runners in the top 23 on their way to a score of 40 points and a 2013 New Balance Toronto Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Cross Country National Championship team gold medal.
The 2013 CCAA Cross-Country Running National Championship was hosted by the Humber Hawks in the Humber Arboretum, Etobicoke, ON. on Saturday (Nov 9). Over 300 participants from 35 CCAA member institutions participated in the CCAA national championship races.
Sandra Kilmartin (Salmon Arm, BC) ran a blazing five kilometre race staying with the front runners the entire distance and finished fourth with a time of 19:30.27, just 13 seconds behind the winner, Lesley Koopman (19:17.95) from MacEwan University in Edmonton.
“Today I learned what I was capable of with my running,” a jubilant Kilmartin said post-race. “This is my best performance of the season and I’m very excited to continue to see what I’ve got in me. This was such a great experience.”
Michelle Blackburne (West Kelowna, BC) was the next UBC Okanagan runner to cross, she placed 11th at 20:12.82, and coach Nikki Reiter labelled her performance as a “tremendous asset to team scoring” with her outstanding time. Blackburne, running at the championships for a second year in a row indicated, “I’m so excited about our team’s performance. Our goal as a team was to finish on the podium, so I’m very excited about a first place result.” Blackburne was more focused this year saying how she “felt much stronger this year because of our training environment. It’s much stronger this year and I think it has helped that we have been setting goals as a team.”
Also scoring towards the team medal were season best performances by Alea Stockton (20:40.37) and Anna Merino (20:44.61) who finished 22nd and 23rd respectively overall. The four finishes in the team competition were 1, 6, 16, 17 to give 40; the silver went to SAIT from Calgary with a score of 62, and St. Clair College from Windsor, ON scored 87 for the bronze.
This is the first medal at the national championships for the Heat cross country team and the team has continually improved under the guidance of coach Nikki Reiter in her three years, going from 13th in 2011 to 4th last year at the championships.
Displacers were Trisha Metro (35th, 21:15.70) and Kendall Seasons (47th, 21:37.96) who rounded out the teams golden performance on the day.
“I’m extremely proud of this team,” an excited Nikki Reiter commented. “We prepared to go for the win and we went out and did it. The women were extremely focused and worked incredibly hard to earn this national title.”
“This is no small accomplishment,” continued the proud coach, “as the Cross Country championship is the largest CCAA championship of all sports, with 35 institutions being represented.”
On top of the team’s gold medal and national championship Sandra Kilmartin finished with a national tournament first team all-star, while Michelle Blackburne was awarded a second team tournament all-star. Only UBC Okanagan and MacEwan placed two runners on the all-star team, honouring the top ten finishers of the race of 120 competitors.
In what was the closest finish in CCAA cross country history, Lesley Koopman of Grant MacEwan from Edmonton captured the 2013 womens’ cross country gold medal. She was followed by teammate Vanessa Trofimenkoff and Marriya Jenkins of Edmonton’s Concordia University, thereby making it a clean sweep of the individual medals by the Alberta Colleges Athletic Association (ACAC).
In fact, just .62 seconds was the difference between first and third, a truly remarkable finish. Koopman nosed out her teammate Trofimenkoff by an even closer margin of .36 seconds.
As the race came down to the last 200 metres, with Concordia’s Jenkins stood in the lead. Coming on almost two abreast Koopman and Trofimenkoff stormed from behind, finally overtaking Jenkins just metres from the finish line.
The crowd, which lined the run to the finish was filled by boisterous and encouraging coaches, teammates and family. They were not only treated to an exciting run to the individual podium but also a number of tight finishes as teams vied for team titles and conference supremacy awards. The race had a number of close calls at the finish line, with three needed to go to video review to determine placements.
The CCAA not only honours the gold, silver and bronze winners, but also award CCAA All Tournament 1st and 2nd Team all Stars.
Women’s Team: Gold: UBC Okanagan 40 PACWEST Silver: SAIT 62 ACAC Bronze: St. Clair 87 OCAA Women’s Conference: Gold: ACAC 19 ACAC Gold Medalist: Lesley Koopman Grant MacEwan (ACAC) Silver Medalist: Vanessa Trofimenkoff Grant MacEwan (ACAC) Bronze Medalist Marriya Jenkins Concordia (ACAC) CCAA All Tournament 1st Team all Stars: Lesley Koopman Grant MacEwan (ACAC) Vanessa Trofimenkoff Grant MacEwan (ACAC) Marriya Jenkins Concordia (ACAC) Sandra Kilmartin UBC Okanagan (PACWEST) Jamie Wigmore Grande Prairie(ACAC) Karine Baudet Lionel-Groulx (RSEQ) Camille Brisson Saint-Laurent (RSEQ) CCAA All Tournament 2nd Team all Stars: Sara Hewitt SAIT (ACAC) Arielle Fitzgerald Dalhousie (ACAA) Courtney Brohart St. Lawrence – K (OCAA) Michelle Blackburne UBC Okanagan (PACWEST) Mikaela York Lethbridge (ACAC) Kodi Morgan St. Clair (OCAA) Joanita Louw George Brown (OCAA)
The UBC Okanagan men’s team for the second year in a row placed tenth at the championships, all six Heat runners finished nearly within a minute of each other. Nick MacLean (37th, 28:37), Cailan Libby (38th, 28:38), Jared Kesteven (47th, 29:11), who has been the UBC Okanagan front runner all season long had an early-race mishap, by going down and he was never able to fully recover, and Alex Hansen (55th, 29:30) all scored for UBC Okanagan for a total of 177. Displacers were Mackenzie Wong (65th, 29:38) and Josh Tremblay (68th, 29:43) rounded out the runners form Kelowna.
Fanshawe College won their second consecutive team Gold Saturday morning, thanks to five top twenty-five finishes from Falcons runners. Clint Smith paced the Falcons, finishing in second place overall, while Josh Lumani and Daniel Bright also placed in the top twenty. The win continues the Falcons dominance on the Men’s side, as they have now finished on the podium in nine consecutive Nationals as a team.
Host Humber College finished second in the team standings, with six runners finishing in less than thirty minutes. Nathaniel Green led the Hawks, finishing in eighth place, with Jesse Bruce and Eric Bang finishing in the top thirty. The second place finish follows up last year’s third place finish in the Team standings, marking steady improvement from an ever improving Cross Country program.
Sherbrooke rounded out the top three with an average time of 28:08, and the podium finish marks one of the best results in the Volontaires Men’s Team history. They also featured six runners finishing in less than thirty minutes, with Philippe Gravel and Samuel Beauvais leading the way. The top five was rounded out by St. Clair and SAIT Polytechnic.
The men’s individual race could not match the closeness of the historic women’s run, but it was quite a memorable finish in itself. Stephen St. Martin of Notre Dame –St. Foy was crowned the 2013 New Balance Toronto Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Cross Country National Championship men’s gold medalist.
Clint Smith of Fanshawe all but assured his place in CCAA cross country history by winning his third straight CCAA men’s silver medal and fourth medal overall. He led the Falcons to their third CCAA team title in four years, and has also seen his team medal in all four years.
Edwin Kaitany of Lethbridge was, in cross country terms, a distant nine seconds behind Smith, but his strong effort proved to be one of podium quality, and he grabbed national bronze.
Men’s Team: Gold: Fanshawe 39 OCAA Silver: Humber 94 OCAA Bronze: Sherbrooke 99 RSEQ Men’s Conference: Gold: OCAA 36 Gold Medalist: Stephen St-Martin Notre Dame-de Foy RSEQ Silver Medalist: Clint Smith Fanshawe OCAA Bronze Medalist Edwin Kaitany Lethbridge ACAC CCAA All Tournament 1st Team all Stars: Stephen St-Martin Notre Dame-de Foy RSEQ Clint Smith Fanshawe OCAA Edwin Kaitany Lethbridge ACAC Jeremy Briand Edouard Montpetit RSEQ Riley Hubbard-Olesky Fleming OCAA Devin Woodland Red Deer ACAC Jonathan Tedeschi Maisonneuve RSEQ Nathaniel Green Humber OCAA CCAA All Tournament 2nd Team all Stars: Nathaniel Green Humber OCAA Francis Lefebvre Andre-Laurendeau RSEQ Sean Sweeney George Brown OCAA John Trojansek St. Clair OCAA Josh Lumani Fanshawe OCAA Alex Harding Lethbridge ACAC Daniel Bright Fanshawe OCAA
- With notes from Jim Bialek – Tournament Chair (Humber Athletics, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416.526-5950)