On November 7th and 8th, the cross country running team competed in the CCAA National Championship in Kingston, Ontario. The competition was hosted by St. Lawrence College and the races were held on the grounds of Fort Henry. The course was nice for the competitors, as the terrain was a slightly soft from the previous night’s rain. The wind was also fairly strong, which made for challenging races. The CCAA Championship was the biggest and strongest field of competition the Vikings have ever experienced, with runners from all five conferences – B.C, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic. In the women’s race, there were 113 runners from 33 schools. The men’s race had 134 runners, also from 33 schools. All the Augustana runners dug in deep in the competition and performed at their best. Since the competition was so strong both in numbers and speed, the start was very fast and it was not easy to get into a rhythm early in the race.
The Augustana women placed fourth in a close school competition. Kathryn Stone placed 12th, Alicia Hurley was 23rd, Maggie McBride was 29th, Patricia Leighton was 32nd, and Reba Murphy was 69th. For the first time in history, an Ontario school (Fanshawe College from London) won the national title. The Augustana men placed fifth in a very tough field. The seven runners from Augustana were David Arial (12th), Joe Nusse (16th), Philip Eriksson (33rd), Jon Skinstad (42nd), Keiran Baird (55th), Andrew Brisbin (62nd), and Dexter McCalder (95th). The Lethbridge Kodiaks claimed the gold with a very strong showing.
In the Conference competition, Kathryn Stone won gold as a member of the ACAC team. David Arial and Joe Nusse were part of the ACAC team which won silver.
It was another fine season for the Augustana runners and now they will be looking forward to hosting the next CCAA Cross Country National Championship in November 2009 on the beautiful cross country trails in Camrose.
Congratulations are also in order for coach Gerhard Lotz, who was named ACAC coach of the year for the second time in a row. Well done on an excellent season to all the runners and coaching staff!!