By Dan Jensen, Camrose Booster
The Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta has been named host of the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association’s November 2009 men’s and women’s Cross Country Running Championships.
"We’re really excited about it," commented Augustana cross country running coach Gerhard Lotz. "It’s going to be a little bit later in the year than it usually is, so it definitely could be cold. If it snows we’ll try to clear the course as much as we can."
The eighth annual event will feature runners from 30 to 40 different schools.
"We’re going to have teams from the Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and B.C. conferences, as well as the ACAC," said Lotz.
The races will be eight km in length for the male runners and five km for the women.
"We haven’t completely decided but we think we will use our usual four km loop that starts at the Stoney Creek Centre, goes north to Augustana and runs behind the ski hill," said Lotz.
"It’s a good course because there are a lot of hills."
The thought of being able to compete on a course with which they are very familiar is one that is exciting for Augustana’s runners.
"We know that a few seconds sometimes means five places, so that can be huge if your team really knows the course and are comfortable with it," said Lotz.
"We’re certainly going to try to make the Ontario teams work very hard."
The 2008 national championships were held November 7 and 8 at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario, where Augustana’s women’s team placed fourth out of 33 and the men’s team placed fifth out of 33.
Individually, on the women’s side, Kathryn Stone placed 12th, Alicia Hurley 23rd, Maggie McBride 29th, Patricia Leighton 32nd and Reba Murphy 69th.
Stone won a gold medal as a member of the ACAC women’s team.
The seven runners on the men’s team were David Arial, who placed 12th, Joe Nusse, who placed 16th, Philip Eriksson 33rd, Jon Skinstad 42nd, Keiran Baird 55th, Andrew Brisbin 62nd, and Dexter McCalder 95th.
Arial and Nusse won silver medals as members of the ACAC team.
"Our runners gave everything they had," said Lotz. "I think we had a few that probably could have done better if they had paced themselves a bit better, but you can’t blame the effort. They never gave up."
The experience Augustana’s runners gained in Kingston should put them in good standing for the 2009 championships.
"We worked them really hard this year and I think their performances will peak in 2009," said Lotz. "Arial really wants to do well next year at home and Stone, with one more year of running is sure to move up."
The Canadian Colleges Athletic Association is the national governing body for college sport in Canada, providing high-level competition through intercollegiate sport that recognizes excellence in academics and athletics.