Running on the course of the upcoming 2014 national championship the Heat men have entered the conversation as a medal contender.
CALGARY, AB – The UBC Okanagan men’s cross country team accepted and bested their coaches challenge at the SAIT open race this past weekend on a hilly course in Calgary’s Confederation Park.
With a goal of finishing top-5 the men succeed by all accounts finishing the national championship preview course as the second place team. The No. 1 ranked Heat women’s team faced some stiff ACAC (Alberta Collegiate Athletics Conference) competition and placed third in the five kilometer race.
Heat coaches Nikki and Nathan Reiter before the race challenged the men’s team to a ‘Top 5’ performance as a team this weekend in order to earn their ticket to the CCAA National Championships.
The coaches were very pleased at how the team accepted that challenge and at how they surpassed it.
Currently ranked seventh in the national rankings, the men’s team outperformed the 4th-ranked ACAC team Concordia Thunder and showed they are worthy of competing with the top CCAA teams at the National Championships in Calgary on November 8th.
With two key runners absent, the remaining men stepped up. Cael Warner (Penticton, BC) ran a phenomenal race on the hilly course, as the applied science student finished third amongst CCAA competitors in 28:46 for 8K, “I’ve raced at this park before and did pretty well, so I was excited to race here again” Warner remarked following his outstanding time.
Coming into shape is Colin Wallace (London, ON), who finished ninth in 30:08 and Erik Paulsen (Vernon, BC) for 14th in 30:45. Last scorer was Mackenzie Wong (Vancouver, BC) in 30:56 for 18th. The top CCAA team was 9th-ranked Lethbridge Kodiaks.
The Heat women had a bit of a tougher time defending their No.1 ranking in the country facing some stiffer ACAC women’s squads. UBC Okanagan fell to No. 2 Grande Prairie Regional College, who showed they currently have some of the best runners in the CCAA. With the fifth ranked Lethbridge Kodiaks finishing second and UBC Okanagan third.
Top finisher for the Heat was Michelle Blackburne, who ran through illness to an 8th place finish amongst CCAA runners in 21:34, “I knew going into the race that I wasn’t at my best physically, but I ran my hardest and am still proud of my performance today.” Other scorers were Alea Stockton (12th; 22:05), Trish Metro (17th; 22:31) and Shayna Quibbel (18th; 22:43).